Maui News

MEO holds focus groups to find Maui County’s top community needs

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Kimokeo Puaa, who is part of MEO Youth Services summer program, presents his group’s views on MEO’s departments Thursday, June 16, at a youth focus group at MEO. PC: MEO
  • Dr. Lori Teragawachi, who is leading Maui Economic Opportunity’s Community Needs Assessment process, waves at Zoom participants Friday, June 17. PC: MEO
  • Lori Tsuhako, Department of Housing and Human Concerns director, and TJ Daya, Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui operations director, discuss Maui Economic Opportunity departments and services at a Community Needs Assessment focus group gathering Friday, June 17, at MEO. PC: MEO
  • Youth participants in an MEO Community Needs Assessment focus group draw out their thoughts about MEO programs Thursday, June 16. PC: MEO

Government, private and nonprofit Maui County leaders and clients and staff of Maui Economic Opportunity offered their views on top community problems and ways to address them in focus groups organized last week as part of MEO’s effort to formulate a Community Needs Assessment, a news release said.

Preliminary survey results identified three top needs for Maui County: lack of access to basic health care and services for mental illness, disabilities and drug abuse; homelessness sheltered and unsheltered; and a culture of poverty.

Community members interested in participating in the Community Needs Assessment can still fill out a survey by June 30.


The 57-year-old Community Action Partnership nonprofit, one of hundreds formed nationwide to combat poverty, is mandated to commission a Community Needs Assessment every three years. This assessment will be used by MEO to generate a Community Needs Plan for the Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2026, period.

Under the direction of Dr. Lori Teragawachi, MEO has disseminated hundreds of surveys countywide and held focus groups and individual interviews to determine the top needs of Maui County.

Teragawachi will complete the Community Needs Assessment for presentation to the MEO Board of Directors in August. The Community Needs Plan will be drafted by January 2023 with MEO creating and aligning its 40-plus programs to address the top community needs.


To obtain a survey for completion by June 30, contact Executive Assistant Lee Imada by email at or by phone at (808) 243-4306.   


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