HONOLULU (KHON2) — A new resource center on Maui aims to provide a safe haven for wildfire affected residents who are frustrated by the government’s response.
It’s been almost four weeks since the wildfires and getting access to resources has been frustrating for many who have been impacted.
Even though numerous organizations have come forward to assist people, many locals feel there’s been a disconnect.
The council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has stepped in to create a culturally focused hub for everyone to get the resources they need.
A special mele and cultural blessing ark the opening of the Kakoo Maui Resource Hub in Kahului on Aug. 4.
It’s a space, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement CEO Kuhio Lewis said, is necessary.
“We were listening to our community and what’s clear is there’s trust issues with our government officials that are offering support and resources,” added Lewis.
According to Lewis, the resource center was created with Native Hawaiians in mind.
With a cultural focus, and run by Maui residents.
“It is a safe space for everyone to come to feel heard. To feel loved, to feel wanted To be able to get everything they need,” said hub manager Kukui Keahi.
Keahi knows the frustration and devastating loss first hand.
She is from Lahaina and lost her home and job in the fire as well.
“It’s a bit overwhelming to a certain extent,” continued Keahi. “Trying to get started in the beginning. Not knowing where to turn to?”
Brothers Kaina and Mason have been seeking assistance like so many others since their family home burned to the ground.
“It hasn’t been an easy process it’s hectic it’s stressful,” said Kaina.
The Kakoo hub is meant to bridge the gap and ease the burden, and it will be there for the long haul.
“You can see the commitment this is vacant. They’ve rented it long-term as opposed to standing up. Some place where you know it’s temporary. Someplace where you know it’s temporary,” said Maui Mayor Richard Bissen. “This is just a sign of solidarity standing it up but of some permanence that is needed for people to see that.”
For many, having familiar faces helping them is already making a difference.
“I think I can put more of my trust into local people than the people that aren’t necessarily from here,” said Mason.
Wesley Kalanui, another Lahaina resident who lost their home to the blaze said, “As a Kanaka Maoli, you cannot, there’s no way you can go wrong with people like this no way. Kanaka Maoli, they behind you, they fight for you.”
“One hundred percent they are for you, I love these guys,” added Kalanui.