Maui News

US Sen. Schatz visits MEO to discuss youth program, housing and federal transportation funding

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US Sen. Brian Schatz met with staff and board members of nonprofit Maui Economic Opportunity to discuss its programs and needs for federal funding. Photo Courtesy: MEO

US Sen. Brian Schatz met with Maui Economic Opportunity staff and board members on July 7 in Wailuku to discuss the Kāohi youth program on Moloka‘i, federal transportation funding issues and the Hale Mahaolu Ke Kahua affordable housing project.

Sen. Schatz was told about Kāohi, a smoking, alcohol, drugs, bullying and suicide prevention program that began on Moloka‘i in June. The program has two years of funding in place with a $100,000 private grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation and a $100,000 federal grant.

MEO is attempting to bring its transportation shop facilities from a rented location in Kahului to the nonprofit’s transportation base yard in Puʻunene. MEO staff and consultants discussed with Schatz the obstacles faced by MEO in obtaining federal grants for the project, which has grown more expensive.

L-R: MEO Board Member Glenn Yamasaki, CEO Debbie Cabebe and Board President Bard Peterson discussed MEO programs with US Brian Schatz (back to the camera) on July 7. Photo Courtesy: MEO

MEO is a partner in the Hale Mahaolu Ke Kahua project, a 100% affordable rental project for families earning 60% or less of the area median income. The nonprofit is offering the land for $1 a year for 70 years to allow the project of 120 multifamily units to pencil out as 100% affordable.

US Sen. Brian Schatz speaks with Maui Economic Opportunity board member Dawn Bicoy during a visit to the Wailuku office of the nonprofit on July 7. Photo Courtesy: MEO

Schatz was told of obstacles facing the project, including litigation over the title of the 11-acre parcel.

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