Maui Relief Updates
State of Hawai`i Department of Human Services
- The Department of Human Services (DHS) leadership and staff have been on Maui leading and coordinating efforts with Airbnb to house keiki to kupuna, people with special needs, and marginalized individuals that FEMA may not cover. DHS worked alongside DBEDT to register survivors into hotels.
- DHS staff are also co-leading with HIEMA, State Emergency Support Function-6 (SESF-6), mass care, and feeding. SESF-6 includes representation from more than 150 government and non-governmental agencies. In the first week, highlighting the work of Curtis Toma, Medicaid Medical Director,
- Worked with DOH WIC to secure more infant formula for Maui Food Bank;
- Working with physicians to address health care needs;
- Coordinating with the DOH I/DD to locate accommodations for Intellectually and Developmentally Delayed clients impacted by the fire; and
- Working on messaging by pediatricians to support children and parents impacted by the disaster.
- Med-QUEST Division (MQD) has paused all terminations and eligibility renewals. People who are already covered by Med-QUEST do not need to take any action at this time. Med-QUEST will maintain individuals’ coverage.
- The Benefit Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD) has authorized replacement benefits for SNAP households who lost food purchased with their SNAP benefits during the recent wildfires on Maui and Hawaii island. SNAP households can request replacement benefits through September 15, 2023. The replacement will be for the amount of the loss, not to exceed the August 2023 monthly allotment for that household, after receipt of a signed affidavit. The replacement benefit is different from Disaster-SNAP (D-SNAP) – click here.
- BESSD is facilitating extended Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food support. USDA provided a temporary waiver allowing SNAP participants in Hawaii to purchase hot foods with their benefits through September 14, 2023.USDA emphasized the importance of the waiver, noting that many Hawaii residents evacuated to shelters cannot store food and lack access to cooking facilities as a result. Under normal circumstances, recipients cannot use SNAP benefits to buy hot food. USDA notified SNAP-authorized retailers of the approval – click here.
- DHS Child Care Regulation Program Office and its contracted provider PATCH shared a list of child care options for families affected by the fires in Maui and are making regular updates to the list – click here. PATCH, the state’s designated Child Care Resource & Referral Agency, worked with licensed and registered providers to determine who is still operating and providing care.
- The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Low-Income Home Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), through its partner Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO), will be implementing disaster plans to include providing generators, gas tanks, gas, propane, bottled water, and water delivery to those who displaced from their residences.
- DHS Child Welfare and Adult Protective Services workers are in the community and volunteering their time with disaster relief efforts on Maui. CWS has accounted for all children in foster care on Maui. Families already receiving services from Child Welfare and/or Adult Protective Services but who need disaster relief aid are encouraged to contact their assigned worker for assistance.
- DHS Division of Vocational Rehabilitation staff on Maui are assisting individuals with sensory, physical, cognitive, and psychological disabilities by providing vital counseling, resources, and other services.
- Office of Youth Services under DHS assessed and mobilized youth shelter beds for displaced youth and coordinated with the Department of Health – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division to provide additional support services to Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility youth and staff.
- The Hawaii Public Housing Authority launched an emergency website for tenants and the public to access during and after the Maui Wildfires to ensure they have access to critical resources and information. The wildfires caused significant damage to the island, leaving many without homes and necessities. By creating a centralized location for tenants to access information on assistance programs, temporary housing options, and recovery efforts, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority aims to provide crucial support to those affected by the tragedy. This website is a crucial resource in ensuring that tenants are well-informed and supported as they navigate the aftermath of the wildfires.
- The Director’s Office works with local and national partners to organize staff support to cope with compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and secondary trauma. There will be support group debriefing sessions starting with generous time and expertise donations. The immediate goal is to have check-in and debriefing sessions several times daily for the next two weeks. The mid-to-long-term goal is to continue offering the debriefing space while offering culturally responsive healing space for deeper conversations and having space for daily reset and release before leaving work for the day to their families. Through the OWR coordinated efforts, the Director’s Office disseminates mental health and support service resources for support professionals that are immediately available.