UNITED STATES NEWS

Agencies release plans for moving hotel-dwelling Maui fire survivors into long-term housing

Jan 5, 2024, 8:16 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday it plans to move thousands of hotel-dwelling survivors of wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui into long-term housing over the next month.

The agency expects households living under long-term leases directly funded by FEMA to rise to 1,500 over the next month from 100 currently, TJ Dargan, federal coordinating officer for the Maui fires, said at a news conference.

The increase would house a large portion of the 2,400 households who are still living in hotels months after wildfires scorched historic Lahaina on Aug. 8. Many are stuck in hotels because they have been unable to find rentals in Maui’s exceptionally tight housing market.

FEMA, the state, county and non-profit organizations have urged owners of Maui’s 27,000 short-term rental properties to make their units, which normally house tourists, available to wildfire survivors.

The agency is working with three property managers on Maui and the mayor’s office to identify units that could be rented to wildfire survivors for 18 months. It has found 600 and is pursuing 1,000 more, Dargan said.

The agency has distributed fliers and letters explaining how long-term FEMA leases offer stability.

“So we’ve shaken that tree pretty hard … and will continue shaking that tree until we’ve got sufficient resources for all,” Dargan said at the news conference, which was held in Wailuku on Maui and streamed online.

Other programs are housing hundreds more, including one which has Hawaii families host displaced residents in return for a monthly stipend from the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

FEMA’s hotel short-term stay funding runs out on Feb. 10 but Hawaii Gov. Josh Green has requested an extension that the agency is considering, Dargan said.

Even so, Green said he expects all Lahaina evacuees to be out of short-term hotels by March 1. Months after that, modular homes built around Maui by FEMA and the Hawaii Community Foundation nonprofit will add housing for several hundred more people, according to plans announced by federal, state and county governments and non-profit organizations.

Green in December threatened to use his emergency powers to impose a moratorium on short-term rentals on Maui if officials were unable to line up enough long-term rentals for fire survivors. But he backed away from the statement on Friday.

“If we meet these milestones, it’s very unlikely we’ll need to invoke the moratorium on short-term rentals,” Green said at the news conference.

Kuhio Lewis, the CEO of the Council on Native Hawaiian Advancement, recognized protesters who have been camping on the beach in Lahaina to demand housing for residents.

“This is in response to that kahea,” Lewis said, using the Hawaiian word for call or alarm. “We also recognize how important it is. And now we’re responding.”

United States News

Associated Press

Largest wildfire in Texas history becomes personal for hardest-hit towns

STINNETT, Texas (AP) — As the largest wildfire in Texas history engulfed his town, Danny Phillips was left helpless. “We had to watch from a few miles away as our neighborhood burned,” he said, his voice trembling with emotion. In his hard-hit town of Stinnett, population roughly 1,600, families like his who evacuated from the […]

6 minutes ago

Associated Press

At least 3 injured in shooting at Southern California dental office

EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) — Police were seeking an “armed and dangerous” suspect following a shooting in Southern California that left at least three people injured Thursday. The shooting occurred at a dental office in El Cajon, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of downtown San Diego, according to media reports. Police identified the suspect […]

2 hours ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Third person dies from Milwaukee shooting that injured 4

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A third person died Thursday from injuries sustained in a shooting earlier this week that claimed four victims, police said. A 39-year-old person died in a hospital from the shooting Sunday in which several people opened fire on each other, police said. The person’s name and gender haven’t been released. The Milwaukee […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Girl walking to school in New York finds severed arm, police later find another arm and leg

BABYLON, N.Y. (AP) — A girl walking to school Thursday morning on Long Island found a severed arm on the side of the road. Police searching the area then discovered another arm and a disembodied leg nearby, authorities in New York said. Suffolk County Police said the girl spotted the severed left arm along a […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Three former Department of Education employees charged with defrauding Arizona voucher program

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees were indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges in what prosecutors say was a scheme to defraud more than $600,000 from an education voucher program that has drawn criticism for its skyrocketing costs and lax regulation by the state. Prosecutors said Thursday that the three employees approved applications […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Agencies release plans for moving hotel-dwelling Maui fire survivors into long-term housing