Groundbreaking Marks the Start of Ka La‘i Ola, a Major Housing Initiative for Maui Wildfire Survivors

Posted on Apr 30, 2024 in Featured, Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases






April 30, 2024

MAUI, HAWAI‘I — Today, Governor Josh Green, M.D., alongside community partners and local leaders, officially broke ground on Ka Laʻi Ola, a pivotal housing project on Maui designed to support wildfire survivors ineligible for FEMA aid. This project brings together the state of Hawai‘i, Maui County, the state Department of Human Services (DHS), the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) and HomeAid Hawai‘i (HAH) to create 450 temporary studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom housing units across 54 acres. The temporary homes can be occupied for up to five years. This collaborative effort represents the largest interim housing development for Maui wildfire survivors to date.

Ka Laʻi Ola means ‘The Place of Peaceful Recovery.’ It will provide a foundation for healing and a step forward toward long-term recovery for those enduring some of the greatest need.

“From the moment the wildfires began, our commitment to the recovery of every affected individual and family has been unwavering,” said Governor Green. “We are especially glad to bring this project forward because it will serve a community that has not been able to receive disaster aid from FEMA. These residents have been especially vulnerable after the wildfires and to offer them this hope in the form of housing is particularly rewarding.”

Maui Mayor Richard Bissen eagerly anticipates the sense of hope the homes will give to the families who are housed at Ka La‘i Ola. “As we move into the ninth month of recovery efforts since the August wildfires, we are navigating some of the most difficult times Maui County has ever faced, but we are making progress. Ka La’i Ola is a huge step forward in recovery efforts.”

“Our decision to support Ka La‘i Ola is about bringing stability to our families and friends who suffered such extraordinary loss,” said HCF CEO and President Micah Kāne, “and we are so grateful to our Maui Strong Fund donors for their generosity that made this possible.”

“HomeAid is most grateful for the opportunity to continue our mission here in West Maui, to build housing solutions for our most vulnerable people impacted by the wildfires,” said Kimo Carvalho, executive director of HomeAid Hawai‘i, developer of Ka La‘i Ola. “Our work starts now. Our mission is clear. Temporary housing for wildfire survivors. Permanent infrastructure for Hawaiian beneficiaries beyond five years.”

Project Funding and Community Impact

The state of Hawaiʻi has allocated $75 million toward the $115 million needed for Ka Laʻi Ola, along with a recently announced $40 million contribution from Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund and community contributions. This initiative not only alleviates the financial strain of approximately $56 million in monthly expenses on temporary accommodations for these survivors, but also introduces crucial services and amenities aimed at fostering resilience and recovery.

Support Services and Amenities

Ka Laʻi Ola will provide comprehensive property management and community services, including access to disaster case managers, trauma-informed services, a resiliency center, childcare, healthcare facilities, gardens, playgrounds and more. These facilities are designed to support the residents’ emotional and physical well-being, helping them to rebuild their lives with dignity and security.

Future Development and Land Use

The Hawaiʻi Housing and Finance Development Corporation has leased the land required for this project to the state Department of Human Services (DHS) for five years. After this period, the land and its permanent infrastructure will be transferred to the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, expediting the development of new homes for Native Hawaiian beneficiaries by 17 years.

About HomeAid Hawaiʻi

HomeAid Hawaiʻi is a nonprofit organization that has been instrumental in addressing the state’s housing crisis through the Governor’s Kauhale Initiative. Its expertise in managing large-scale housing projects is pivotal in the development of Ka Laʻi Ola and reflects its ongoing commitment to community-centered housing solutions.

Renderings are courtesy of HomeAid Hawaiʻi and event photos are courtesy of the Office of the Governor.

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Media Contacts:

Erika Engle
Press Secretary
Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i
Phone: 808-586-0120
Email: [email protected]

Makana McClellan
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi
Cell: 808-265-0083
Email: [email protected]

Laksmi Abraham
Director of Communications and Government Affairs
Office of the Mayor, County of Maui
Cell: 808-830-0416
Email: [email protected]

Adrian Kamaliʻi
HomeAid Hawaiʻi / The Island Agency
Cell: 808-330-3342
Email: [email protected]