Federal Support Provides Housing Assistance To Maui Wildfires Victims

On August 21, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Maui and saw the damage and recovery of Lahaina residents from the devastating wildfires.

“Mahalo to the President and the First Lady for making this historic trip to be here in our time of need. We in Hawai‘i have been through hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis, but we have never seen such a robust federal response,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz.

To support the recovery of Lahaina, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $1.3 million to the State of Hawaii to support people who were experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness through the Rapid Unsheltered Survivor Housing (RUSH) program.

The funding will help communities in Maui to rebuild during the aftermath of the recent wildfire disaster.

“This funding will provide essential assistance to individuals impacted by the devastating wildfires who were previously experiencing housing insecurity. I appreciate HUD’s quick action as one of the many federal agencies providing assistance in these early stages of recovery,” said U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono.

“As we work to provide those impacted by this disaster with safe and stable shelter, I will continue working with our federal, state, and local partners to secure the immediate and long-term relief Maui and the State of Hawaii will need to recover and rebuild.”

The RUSH program provides funding for emergency shelter and rapid housing which provides up to 24 months of rental assistance. Moreover, it also provides financial assistance for moving-in costs, utility assistance, and supportive services for people at risk or experiencing homelessness.

For Sen. Schatz, additional federal funding is needed to help Lahaina recover. In a letter addressed to President Biden, Sen. Schatz asked for the following:

– Include funding for Maui in a continuing resolution
– Support increased financial assistance for high-cost areas
– Waive the State and Local cost share for needed FEMA programs
– Presume that Lahaina survivors do not have their paperwork
– Ensure safe air and drinking water
– Surge crisis counseling
– Extend disaster unemployment assistance to one year
– Expedite processing and waive fees for Lahaina immigrants
– Harden electric grid
– Mitigate fire risks
– Prevent pollution in coastal waters
– Increase small business loan limits
– Fund Hawaii’s community development financial institutions
– Send cabinet officials to Maui

To read the full letter, head to https://www.schatz.senate.gov/download/potus-maui-letter.

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