Oha emergency funds distributed to lava flow victims


HAWAIʻI ISLAND – A second batch of checks from OHA’s natural disaster relief program were distributed to 55 Native Hawaiian households to help them cope with the devastating impacts from the recent lava flows in Puna.

The Aug. 21 checks come from the $250,000 in funds that OHA set aside for emergency financial assistance for individual Native Hawaiian households in Puna. So far, $170,000 total has been distributed to 116 households. Beneficiaries are encouraged to continue to apply for the remainder of the funds.

“We send our deepest aloha to the residents of Puna, who continue to endure so much,” said Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, OHA Chief Executive Officer and Ka Pouhana. “Their lives, their homes and their community will in many ways never be the same. We hope that our support can help provide them some comfort during these challenging times.”

Photo: Annie Kuamo'o and Kamaile Puluole-Mitchell
Annie Kuamoʻo, resident of
Puna receives aid from a partnership
between the Offi ce of
Hawaiian Affairs and the Neighborhood
Place of Puna. Kamaile
Puluole-Mitchell, an OHA Community
Outreach Coordinator in
Hilo, is seen handing out relief aid checks. – Photo: Kawena

The funds for Native Hawaiian households in Puna are part of OHA’s relief package of emergency loans and $500,000 in aid for Native Hawaiians impacted by the natural disasters on Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island. In June, OHA began distribution of $200,000 for Kauaʻi households affected by the flooding, and $50,000 was allocated for kalo farmers in the area.

OHA is collaborating with the Neighborhood Place of Puna to distribute the $250,000 to qualified Native Hawaiian households in Puna.

Eligible Native Hawaiians must have resided in a home or rental unit in Puna as of May 1, 2018, and have been adversely affected by the lava flow. The $1,000 to $2,000 financial assistance awards are limited to one per household. The one-time emergency financial assistance may be used for food, clothing, medicine, and other materials; emergency housing; medical and related services; transportation; and dependent child or elder care.

Potential applicants are asked to call in advance to schedule a meeting with the staff of Neighborhood Place of Puna, whose contact information is:

Address: 16-105 Opukahaia Street, Keaau Hawaiʻi 96749
Phone: 808-965-5550
E-mail: billi-jo@neighborhoodplace.org

In addition, Native Hawaiians affected by the lava flows are also encouraged to apply for disaster relief loans from OHA’s Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund. Loans are available for up to $20,000 with a four percent interest rate and up to six months of deferred payments. Loans may be used for home improvement, vehicle repair or replacement, or business stabilization.

Relief Efforts

For more information on OHA’s Puna relief efforts, please visit www.oha.org/puna, email info@oha.org or contact OHA’s Hawai‘i Island offices:

OHA East Hawaiʻi (Hilo)
399 Hualani Street
Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720

OHA West Hawaiʻi (Kona)
75-1000 Henry Street Suite 205
Kailua Kona, Hawaiʻi 96740