Hawaii Governor Josh Green just announced what we had already been hearing in comments including those below from visitors. That is that one milestone in the Lahaina fire recovery, the closing of Red Cross temporary housing, has occurred.
There are 4,400 Maui fire survivors who have now been moved into West Maui hotels and other accommodations typically used for visitors. Of those some 900 are staying in Airbnb vacation rentals. The state said that “These accommodations will continue to provide meals, casework services, financial recovery resources and other disaster relief assistance.”
“We want to thank our partners at the American Red Cross, FEMA, the hotel industry and Airbnb, for stepping up during this unprecedented tragedy… I would also like to express my gratitude to the West Maui properties who are housing hundreds of their team members and their families. These hotels and timeshares have generously opened up their properties without hesitation. I especially want to thank the Royal Lahaina Resort for being the first hotel to step up to the plate and offer housing for those displaced from the wildfires”Josh Green, Governor.
Evolving situation in West Maui.
The housing of fire victims in West Maui is progressing, which will continue to change Maui hotel and vacation rental availability for the next couple of months, if not longer. The information is still limited and changing as to which resorts and areas are included for housing of those displaced and for what duration. Clearly, however, the Kaanapali Resort area is a primary location where those impacted by the catastrophic Lahaina fire will be housed.
Dave just commented that: “I am an owner at Kaanapali Shores. We just received an email stating that Kaanapali Shores has entered into a contract with the Red Cross to house those that have lost homes and first responders through October 31, 2023. I see all Aston West Maui properties have closed out availability until Nov 1, 2023.”
Another comment said, “Yesterday I checked in with (Kaanapali Shores) again and was told that all reservations through September 30 had been cancelled because Kaanapali Shores was housing the displaced and volunteers. It was also noted that there is no internet or cable TV, and intermittent power outages. I never received cancellation notice and none of this is explained in their online updates, which make it sound like you can cancel ‘if you wish’ but that nothing has been auto-cancelled.”
Meanwhile, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency administrator said, “This team effort to help Maui’s kamaaina get out of group shelters and into stable and more private housing was executed with tremendous speed. We hope restoring some stability will help the community heal.”
Temporary solution to help residents who cannot return to their homes.
This will provide a temporary solution while long-term housing plans are developed in collaboration with the county and the West Maui community. These hotels and Airbnb properties were selected in West Maui in order to keep people close to their home communities and preserve as much as possible some degree of continuity in the survivors’ lives. We do not have a list of which properties are included at this time.
The American Red Cross is operating the housing agreement under a contract it has with the state. It is being funded through FEMA, whose Admin. Deanne Criswell said, “Because of the tremendous partnership between FEMA, Hawaii, and our nonprofit partners, thousands of residents have transitioned out of shelters and into hotels.”
FEMA said that it is coordinating housing without regard to eligibility during the first 30 days and will later conduct eligibility reviews. Thereafter, those survivors registered for FEMA help whose homes are deemed to be uninhabitable, can remain in a Maui hotel or vacation rental until they, together with FEMA help, are able to find their own housing.
Let us know if you have any questions on this evolving situation in West Maui.
Photo credit Royal Lahaina Resort, acknowledged by the state for stepping forward to help Lahaina fire victims.