Red Cross recaps six months of service in response to Maui wildfires
Six months after the August’s wildfires on Maui, the American Red Cross continues to care for nearly 5,000 affected residents in the temporary emergency non-congregate sheltering (NCS) program.
Red Cross organizers reflected upon experiences of survivor households like the Fisher family, who had a five-day-old child at the time of the fires. “The Fisher’s came into the NCS program when a Red Cross shelter worker spotted them outside a coffee shop with their pet parrot. Just like the Fisher’s, every resident in our care has a story of strength and resilience,” according to an organization news release.
As government agencies work to prepare residential zones for safe re-entry and secure intermediate housing solutions, the Red Cross encourages residents by empowering them to determine their next housing steps with the support of the organization’s Shelter Resident Transition teams.
Government and community partners have been working towards finding housing options for those still in hotels.
In January, Gov. Josh Green joined Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen and nonprofit partners in announcing a $500 million Interim Housing Plan for Maui. The plan includes: residents returning to original unharmed residences, the Host Housing Support Program, direct leasing, short-term rental transitions to long-term rentals, and new permanent developments.
With the reopening of the first residential zone, more than 100 households in the NCS program have returned home, according to the Red Cross.
“As we look ahead toward recovery, we acknowledge the perseverance and patience of residents in our care that are continuing the search for a stable housing option. We continue to work alongside trusted government partners to support households like the Fisher family who are not yet at this transition point until they connect with stable housing solutions,” the Red Cross reports.
To date, more than 2,400 households and 3,000 individuals in the NCS program have successfully transitioned into stable housing, according to the Red Cross.
Through the Red Cross -funded Host Housing Support Program administered by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), 219 local families are hosting nearly 600 disaster-impacted individuals. In addition, the Red Cross has supported CNHA in securing 50 direct leases for disaster-affected individuals.
As a donor-funded nonprofit comprised of 90% volunteers, the American Red Cross has deployed more than 1,860 volunteers since the disaster on Maui.
“As we take stock of the past six months and look forward, the Red Cross extends gratitude to every individual in our care for their cooperation, and we are here to actively support them in the next chapter on their road to recovery,” organization leaders said.