HUD Rallies to Aid Hawaiian Wildfire Recovery


Volunteers work at a food distribution center set up in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Lahaina, Hawaii, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, after wildfires devastated parts of the Hawaiian island of Maui. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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In response to the devastating wildfires affecting Maui and the island of Hawaii, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is stepping up in a big way. Today they’ve announced a robust package of regulatory and administrative waivers aimed at fast-tracking the island’s recovery.

The move follows HUD’s initial support in the wake of the fires, reinforcing the agency’s commitment to the residents of Hawaii.

The relief package is comprehensive, extending across several key HUD programs, including the Community Development Block Grant and home investment partnerships, among others.

So what does this mean on the ground? In practice, these waivers enable more flexible use of federal funds, including paying for emergency food and water, constructing new housing in disaster-stricken areas, easing tenant-based rental assistance requirements, and more, all via a new streamlined notification process designed to help where it’s needed faster.

The critical question is, as these funds are unlocked and deployed, will they be the turning point that these communities need to rise from the ashes?

Click play to listen to the report from AURN White House Correspondent Ebony McMorris. For more news, follow @E_N_McMorris & @aurnonline.

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