Maui Wildfire Updates

As of July 20, 2024, Aloha United Way has raised over $3.6 million for the Maui Fire Relief Fund, with 100% of proceeds supporting Maui United Way’s relief efforts.

Update on Aloha United Way Support

Phase 1: Direct Cash Assistance Program

Shortly after the disaster, AUW supported Maui’s limited 4-person staff by sending employees and laptops to help set up a response center to process applications for the direct cash assistance program (the first wave of support). The program offered a one-time $1,000 financial assistance payment, not exceeding $5,000 per household, for adult fire survivors in Lahaina and Kula.
 
While the primary method for requesting assistance was online, Aloha United Way also deployed its AUW 211 Helpline, connecting fire survivors with local relief resource specialists who helped them submit applications and identify other services. Our dedicated 211 team handled over 7,100 inquiries in August, 2023, alone, ensuring wildfire survivors received the help they needed.
 
Phase 2: Grants for Direct Service Providers
 
The individual assistance program closed to new applications on August 29, 2023. After conducting a needs assessment, Maui United Way launched a second round of grants, now open to Maui nonprofit partners. Grants will continue to be awarded in four critical focus areas:
  • Keiki and young adults
  • Mental health
  • Stable housing
  • Job training, education, and employment services

Ongoing Support and Donations

Aloha United Way continues to provide an avenue for the community to support recovery efforts in Maui. Donations can be made online or by mail, indicating "Maui Recovery." 

Thanks to generous donors, we have been able to respond quickly and repeatedly to help send support for Maui through our fundraising efforts and through AUW's 211 Information & Referral helpline.

Photo Credit ~ Lahaina Arts Guild

How the Maui Wildfires Impacted Our Community

On August 8th, 2023, devastating wildfires began on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Spreading rapidly due to high winds, the fires consumed over 2,000 acres of land, damaged or completely destroyed more than 3,000 structures, and took 97 members of the community. 

As news spread to other islands, our community members took immediate action responding to the tragic events any way possible. Donations were being collected, local community hubs (like a grassroots Costco) were organized, and an overwhelming number of residents offered their support through financial donations.  

The global community, too, demonstrated its unwavering support by swiftly offering resources and providing a collective surge of uplifting energy. This outpouring of assistance continues to inspire us during this challenging time. 

As we move forward on the path to recovery, we will continue to keep you updated on how your donations are assisting the residents of Maui on this several year long journey. 

Photo Credit ~ Maui Recovers

Aloha United Way's Partnership with Maui United Way

Although Aloha United Way and Maui United Way operate as separate organizations focusing on respective, localized efforts, we have always worked closely as partners with the goal of lifting the wellbeing of all the Hawaiian Islands.  

As Aloha United Way, we were able to respond immediately to the disaster by creating a fund, facilitating thousands of calls for assistance that came through our 211 statewide helpline and sending equipment and team members to assist Maui United Way with relief efforts. 

A special message from Nick Winfrey, the President and CPO of Maui United Way:  

If the video isn't playing ~ Click Here to view this video on YouTube.

Click Here to view our full, 10-minute Q&A with Nick.

Photo Credit ~ Maui United Way

How Your Contributions Are Making an Impact

With the help of Aloha United Way’s administrative support, Maui United Way launched the direct cash assistance program offering $1,000 per individual and up to $5,000 per household within days of the disaster.  

A total of 7,000 applications have been processed for cash assistance recipients. And a combined total of $7 Million has been distributed to survivors. 

Beyond direct financial assistance, Maui United Way has awarded 18 grants to nonprofit agencies supporting a variety of services, including locally grown food, transportation, mortgage and insurance assistance, help replacing identification, crisis counseling, childcare, and healthcare services.

 
~ $3.111 million dollars transferred to Maui United Way from the Maui Fire Relief Fund. We continue to send 100% of received donations to MUW on a weekly basis.
 
~ 7,000 individuals living in the fire-impacted zone received $1,000 in emergency financial assistance though Maui United Way's Direct Cash Assistance Program.
 
~ 20 Nonprofit Agencies on Maui providing direct relief to impacted community members received grants from Maui United Way.
 

Photo Credit ~ Maui Recovers

AUW 211

Aloha United Way's 211 Resource Helpline is available to everyone in Hawaiʻi, providing direct referrals to over 4,000 social service resources available in the state. On a normal day, 211 Specialists can expect to receive around 100 calls from individuals looking for assistance finding resources for financial aid, housing, or health services.  

 
Since the wildfires began: 
 
~ 257 Daily average individual requests for finding resources. This includes all contact from phone call, text message, email, and chat requests.
 
~ 674 phone callers assisted in one day during the peak on August 31st.
 
~ 15,138 total contacts to 211 from July 31 to September 28.
 
~ 45% of total contacts came from Maui County.
 
~ 75% of all Maui contacts came from Lahaina or Kula zip codes.
 

The Impact on ALICE households

Maui households were already under pressure from increasing financial hardships, but the wildfires have escalated this to an unpredictable amount.  
 
ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) refers to households that earn above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but cannot afford the basic cost of living in their county. Despite struggling to make ends meet, ALICE households often do not qualify for public assistance.
 
~ 49% of households on Maui were below the ALICE Threshold prior to the fires. 
 
~ 15% increase (from 34% to 49%) to ALICE Threshold on Maui between 2019-2021.
 

Aloha United Way's continued research of ALICE data in Hawaiʻi is crucial to helping track and monitor the wellbeing of the whole state.  

ALICE research gives power to the state's government, non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, and individuals in the form of accurate data, relevant standards of measurement, and insight to where action is most necessary. 

Notes of Aloha from Around the World

 
 

Continue to Support Maui

Click Here to donate to the Maui Fire Relief Fund.