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HUD Deputy Secretary concludes Maui visit, addresses short-term housing concerns

August 10: Homes and buildings burned to the ground in Lahaina in the aftermath of wildfires.
Patrick T. Fallon
AFP via Getty Images
August 10: Homes and buildings burned to the ground in Lāhainā in the aftermath of wildfires.

A top housing official in the Biden administration wrapped up a three-day visit to Maui last week.

Adrianne Todman is the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She met with state and county officials, as well as some residents who are now without housing.

She told HPR that people who are currently in short-term housing in hotels are not facing immediate expiration dates for their stays.

"It's important for people to get the facts... Don't listen to your neighbor, you know, don't listen to the folks standing outside, go to the Federal Disaster Recovery Center and get the right information," she said.

When it comes to housing options, there is a concern from many people in West Valley about what will happen in the medium term. Todman said while HUD is currently discussing plans with other government officials about what to do, families and seniors who were already assisted by HUD should continue to receive their housing benefits.

"One of the things that HUD will be doing is, once Congress has provided us with our disaster recovery funds, we will be working with the state and with the county and other local housing leaders on what the long-term housing recovery looks like," she said.

"That piece of work is where HUD will be doing work a little bit more aggressively in terms of permanent housing solutions, particularly in Lāhainā."

Todman said HUD has specialists who remain on Maui who can help residents who have issues with anything related to housing concerns — from mortgage insurance to payment deferrals, rental assistance and more.

Additionally, the American Red Cross is providing temporary emergency housing in hotel rooms and other properties for anyone on Maui who is in need. Individuals have until the end of this week to sign up.

Other services range from meals and health services to financial assistance and mental health support.

As of last week, the Red Cross was helping nearly 6,000 people across 29 hotels and other properties on Maui.

Anyone who lived in Maui County at the time of the disaster and whose homes are now uninhabitable because of the wildfires is eligible for assistance.

For more information, click here or call 1-800-RED-CROSS

Updated: September 13, 2023 at 9:49 AM HST
This story has been updated to accurately reflect the title of HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman.
Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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