ʻOhana Hope Village taking shape on 10 acres in Kahului to help house displaced wildfire survivors
Six weeks since wildfires decimated the historic town of Lahaina and ravaged Kula and Upcountry, in what is now the most lethal wildfire in US history in over a century, Maui is still recovering from this loss. More than 2,200 buildings were destroyed across Maui, leaving an estimated 11,000 residents displaced across the island.
ʻOhana Hope Village is an ambitious undertaking that seeks to transform a 10-acre field in Central Maui, into approximately 90 homes, capable of housing around 500 people. These homes are designed to provide a comfortable living environment with private bathrooms, kitchens, and screened lānai, prioritizing the well-being and privacy of residents. Residents will have the freedom to reside in these homes for an extended period, typically a few years, as they work towards seeking more permanent housing options.
As the state transitions from immediate crisis mode into more long-term recovery efforts, the focus has shifted to finding housing solutions and accommodations for the thousands of displaced Maui residents in need of a home.
In response to this, dozens of local companies across Maui including Hawaiʻi Off Grid, Shed Pro Hawaiʻi, Maui Plumbing and many others have joined the effort led by Family Life Center to donate labor and materials for this midterm housing project, ʻOhana Hope Village.
This venture is aimed at providing midterm housing and essential support to those affected by the fires, while transitioning them away from hotels, shelters and other living arrangements to be able to live more comfortably, with a greater sense of independence, stability, and security during this time.
Hawaiʻi Off Grid is leading the design and engineering of the project. Known for their innovative and sustainable solutions, they are continuing their commitment to sustainability by designing ʻOhana Hope Village to be an off-grid community, utilizing solar power and adjacent water wells for its energy and water needs. Additionally, all construction that is exposed will be non-combustible with hardy boards and treated with fire retardant paint, as well as sprinklers installed in both the interior and exterior of the home. “This approach not only ensures a more environmentally friendly community but also provides resilience and self-sufficiency, crucial during times of crisis,” according to organizers.
Hawaiʻi Off Grid’s principal architect, David Sellers, also serving as the chief planner of ʻOhana Hope Village, is dedicated to creating a supportive and functional living space for the displaced Maui residents.
“The past month has been difficult for all of us. As soon as this tragedy happened, we were deeply touched. For us, the only way to get through it was to get to work” said Sellers. “Our team at Hawaiʻi Off Grid and Family Life Center has been amazing. Everyone has rallied together, sacrificing weekends, and working long nights to show support and do whatever we can to help our community rebuild.”
Truss Systems Hawaiʻi/Shed Pro Hawaiʻi, a long time Maui-based company are contributing their expertise by providing essential labor and materials for the construction of these homes. The Japan based company, Daikin will be donating air conditioners for each unit, and many Maui based companies including, Arita Paulson General Contracting, Maui Plumbing, RevoluSun, and more, have also stepped up to help out this project in a big way also by generously offering both labor and construction materials to help bring this project to fruition.
“The collective efforts of these local companies, spearheaded by Family Life Center, represent the solidarity and resilience of the Maui community during these extremely challenging times,” organizers said. “Their contributions are a shining example of compassion and unity, embodying the spirit of ʻohana which lies at the heart of Maui’s culture.”
To apply for housing or for those interested in supporting ʻOhana Hope Village through donations, volunteering, or other means, visit: https://ohanahopevillage.com/