Governor: $100M in direct aid will be made available to wildfire-impacted households

Nearly 16-thousand people have registered with FEMA and many are getting housing assistance.
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 5:31 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 21, 2023 at 7:03 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly 18,000 people have registered with FEMA seeking assistance in the wake of the Maui wildfires.

The figure underscores the scope of the need, officials said.

It also highlights the support available to those who have lost so much in the flames.

On Thursday, state and nonprofit leaders detailed some of the expanded resources available to households who are directly or indirectly impacted by the wildfires.

For examples, immediately after the fires the state got a statewide waiver allowing food stamps to be used in restaurants through Oct. 14.

“This is important because we have many families without kitchens, and they may lack the ability to cook and prepare their own food for their families,” said Cathy Betts, Human Services director.

Also, Disaster-SNAP was launched Monday for households who don’t receive food stamps. Depending on household size and income, families are eligible for up to $3,000 a month in aid.

Betts said so far, 1,000 survivors have applied for Disaster-SNAP.

There are application sites across the state, including on Maui at the Hyatt Regency. It’s open through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The state says there will be interpreters available.

The governor also said the state plans to put about $100 million aside to help thousands of impacted families through their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program.

“TANF funds may be used to help families with dependent children with up to four months of housing, utilities and transportation costs to assist with one time purchase of clothing and school supplies,” said Betts.

“There’s at least 3,000 families that are in pretty deep trouble and that would produce a pretty large check,” said Green. “If you do the math, you can see it’s about $30,000. But we’re not sure yet, what that final number will be, we’re working that out with TANF.”

Micah Kane, CEO of the Hawaii Community Foundation, said they’re looking to leverage government partners.

Special Section: Maui Wildfires Disaster

Over the past 40 days, more than has been raised for its Maui Strong Fund from 200,000 donors across the world. Nearly $25 million was given to community organizations supporting Maui.

Kane said they have more than $90 million left.

“You have half of the population that wants to be told, what, what are they going to do? And what are you going to do,” said Kane. “You have half of the population saying, you know, I want input on what you should do and balancing that is a very, very difficult thing to determine.”

“We’re leaning a lot on Mayor Bissen’s community outreach that is occurring right now.”