Hawaii Island Volcano Recovery Fund Report

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Hawai‘i Island Volcano Recovery Fund Report

The Kīlauea eruption lasted over 100 days; forever

On Sunday, May 6, 2018, then county Housing Manager,

changing the lives and landscape of lower Puna. On

Sharon Hirota, called together key government and

Thursday, May 3, 2018, residents of Leilani Estates on the

community organizations to assist in response efforts. All

East Rift Zone of the Kīlauea volcano had minutes to flee

who were asked to assist responded and they identified

volcanic eruptions that destroyed many of their homes.

tasks and divided responsibilities. Calls were made that

Over the next few months, 24 fissures created lava

evening to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation for help

fountains up to 200 feet high, emissions of toxic gases,

with establishing a disaster relief fund to receive

and lava flows that covered 13.7 square miles of land and

contributions to aid the response and recovery work.

created 875 acres of new land. The Kīlauea eruption destroyed 716 homes and resulted in $236.5 million in damages to roads, waterlines and government facilities. Damage from daily earthquakes and volcanic ash forced the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park to close, severely impacting tourism in nearby Volcano Village and causing structural damage to many homes and water catchment systems.

In response, the Hawai’i Community Foundation (HCF) together with the Anderson-Beck Fund, Jack’s Fund, Deviants from the Norm Fund, and the Darrin & Darien Gee Family Fund immediately established the Hawai‘i Island Volcano Recovery Fund to support Hawai‘i Island communities






The fund provided an avenue for countless donors who wanted to help survivors impacted by the disaster. The fund received over 600 gifts from generous donors from around the world and raised over $1 million in donations. HCF worked in close collaboration with the community and determined that the initial focus of the Hawai‘i Island Volcano Recovery Fund was to increase the capacity of nonprofit organizations to respond to disaster relief efforts. The first grants were quickly released and provided additional staffing that these already stretched organizations needed to quickly respond. This funding was pivotal, empowering organizations to commit fully to disaster relief efforts. This strong collaborative relationship between HCF and the community continued throughout the Kīlauea disaster and resulted in opportunities that supported strategic responses to all phases of the disaster. 1

S NA PSH OT OF PUNA The Kīlauea disaster highlighted and exacerbated the


vulnerabilities of the lower Puna community. The complex and multiple needs of this diverse population at times challenged and overwhelmed government and the community’s ability to respond. While many survivors were able to rely on the support of friends, family, and savings to weather this disaster, others were not so fortunate. Some lost what little they had with no savings or no home owners or renter’s insurance to rely on. For others, the event exacerbated physical or mental health challenges that strained their ability to cope with the

78 %

of the population in Puna is ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed) and/ or below the poverty level

stresses of the disaster. Prior to the Kīlauea disaster, Puna was experiencing the fastest rate of growth of all the districts in the County of Hawai‘i. With its high percentage of lower-income residents, Puna provided affordable housing; its subdivision lots offering some of the lowest-price sites in Hawai‘i for owner-built housing. Overshadowing this tremendous opportunity and growth is the reality that all of Puna lies within the three most hazardous lava flow zones: LF1, LF2 and LF3. About 6,400 subdivision lots lie in the highest hazard zone, LF1, and over 500 of these are exposed to additional risks from tsunami and earthquakes. (Puna CDP)

29 %

of the population in Puna is below the poverty level

SINGLE ADULT Survival budget


Average median income in Puna


FAMILY OF FOUR Survival budget


Stability budget


Average median income in Puna


AGE 0–24

26 %

of the population’s households in Puna receive SNAP*



25–54 55+

34% *Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Data from County of Hawai‘i Recovery and Resilience Vulnerability Scan


RAPID RELIEF AND RESPONSE PHASE This immediate response supported the urgent needs of those displaced by the Kīlauea disaster and served as a bridge until additional disaster response funding, either through public entities or donations are realized through public entities or donations were available. The County of Hawai‘i’s initial response to the Kīlauea disaster was to ensure the safety of the residents of lower Puna. The county opened shelters in Pāhoa and Kea‘au and worked with county first responders to safely evacuate residents in harm’s way of the lava. The nonprofit sector and community worked collaboratively with the county to assist with immediate needs such as providing survivors with food, clothing, and shelter. Hawai‘i Island Disaster Assistance Response and Recovery Team, or HI-DARRT, a permanent coalition of government and non-government relief organizations was formed by the key responding organizations. HI-DARRT led the effort to identify needs of the Kīlauea disaster survivors and develop a coordinated response. They also played a key role in keeping all stakeholders informed of the status of the eruption and response efforts.

Assistance was also received through nationally based organizations such as VOAD (Voluntary Organizations

The American Red Cross managed the shelters. The Hawai‘i

Active in Disaster) that provided cleanup and other relief

Island Food Basket and Salvation Army worked with the

efforts using local and mainland-based volunteers.

Faith Hui and community groups to provide food, water

Pu‘uhonua o Puna, a community driven central hub for

and supplies. Over 321,000 pounds of food, water and

information and supplies, was created by the people of

supplies were distributed and almost 62,000 meals were

Puna working to help Puna. Other organizations such as

served over the course of six months.



Big Island Substance Abuse Council

Hawaiian Island Health and Wellness Center Counseling

Child and Family Service

Disaster Relief Case Manager

Catholic Charities Hawai‘i

Disaster Administrative Assistant

HOPE Services Hawai‘i

Disaster Case Workers

Neighborhood Place of Puna

STREAK Database, Disaster Response Coordinator and Case Manager

Project Vision Hawai‘i

Operation Costs for Mobile Hygiene Trailer

Puna Baptist Church

Laundry Vouchers for Displaced Residents

The Food Basket, Hawai'i Island's

Food Bank

Support for Driver, Warehouse Person and Disaster Relief Outreach/Volunteer Coordinator


World Central Kitchen provided three hot meals a day to the survivors of the

needs and coordinate response. A

Kīlauea disaster and volunteers.





One of the first grants made by HCF was to the Neighborhood Place of Puna to subscribe to STREAK, a database used for understanding and tracking the needs of individuals and families. With the exception of the American Red Cross that maintained its own database system, all nonprofit agencies serving those impacted by the Kilauea disaster used STREAK as a means to identify



intake rapidly

respond to the needs of those displaced, including basic everyday living items, relocation and housing assistance,




services. A triaged response with one universal intake form meant that one designated person or agency would respond thus reducing trauma and increasing efficiency. The STREAK database resulted in accurate and timely information about the status and





Kīlauea and




STREAK database proved invaluable to the decision makers at community, county, state and federal levels. It





needs of the survivors and informed their response.

RECOVERY AND STABILIZATION PHASE In this phase, immediate needs have been met and intermediate-term assistance begins for the return of some level of normalcy for families and communities. The ongoing nature of the Kīlauea disaster presented unique challenges to first responders, non-profit and volunteer communities. The eruption lasted over 3 months; new fissures erupted sometimes daily resulting in more evacuations and more homes lost and lives impacted. Everyone — survivors, first responders, non-profit staff and volunteers were exhausted and overwhelmed by the disaster and its changing yet ongoing needs. HCF worked side-by-side with the community as the eruption continued for weeks and then months. HCF’s willingness to listen to the community and to be flexible was essential to effectively supporting the community’s needs. Lower Puna housed much of East Hawai‘i’s affordable housing units. With the Kīlauea eruption taking away this resource, the lack of affordable housing reached crisis proportions. Hundreds of individuals and families were at the shelter for weeks. With people stressed and tempers frayed it was not always a 4

safe or healthy place, especially for families with young

Nonprofit organizations continue to work together with

children or vulnerable adults. The community recognized

several forming the Kīlauea Hui to address the unmet needs

that a short-term solution was needed to help individuals

of individuals and families with complex issues primarily

impacted out of the shelter as they searched for affordable

relating to housing assistance and building/home

long-term housing. The result was the construction of micro


shelters, a collaboration between business, nonprofits

databases to track unmet needs and meet regularly to

and the faith-based community. Twenty micro-units on the Sacred Hearts Church grounds in Pāhoa offered kūpuna a safe place to shelter while organizations such as HOPE Services Hawai‘i, Catholic Charities Hawai’i and Neighborhood Place of Puna worked with them to find permanent housing. 10 microunits (Hale Iki) on land owned by Connect Point Church in Hawaiian Paradise Park offered the same opportunities for families.



both the STREAK and FEMA

determine how the Hui can work together to resolve these survivors’ issues. HI-DARRT, working together with Neighborhood Place of Puna, is improving the intake system using the STREAK database for future disasters. They are also developing a resource directory to catalogue resources that were critical during the Kīlauea disaster.



Catholic Charities Hawai‘i

Kīlauea Hui Unmet Needs

Connect Point Church

Hale Iki Micro Unit Operational Expenses

Habitat for Humanity

Family Services/Volunteer Coordinator and Construction Coordinator for East Hawai‘i

Hawai‘i State Bar Foundation

Kōkua for Puna Disaster Relief Legal Assistance

Hawaiian Community Assets

Financial Counseling and Loans for Puna Survivors

HOPE Services Hawai‘i

Case Management and Outreach and Hale Iki Management

Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i


Neighborhood Place of Puna

STREAK Subscription for 12 Months

United Policyholders

Roadmap to Recovery Services

University of Hawai‘i Foundation

Student Housing at UH Hilo 5

RE BU IL D AND R ESILIENCE PHAS E This phase is aimed at rebuilding community with a focus on resilience, particularly with a social equity lens to support vulnerable people and places. The Kīlauea disaster highlighted and exacerbated the vulnerabilities of the lower Puna community. This time of rebuilding is a moment to understand vulnerabilities and seize the opportunity to that strengthen lower Puna’s community resilience. Hawai’i County officials have taken the lead in coordinating the rebuild and resilience phase and guided by FEMA are developing a long-term recovery plan. The county has signed a $1.6 million contract with Tetra Tech to develop a plan that will be combined with economic recovery and risk assessment plans. This assists the county in determining the allocation of state and federal funding to help with long-term recovery. The county targets the end of the year for finalizing this proposed recovery plan for lower Puna. The county also convened the Affordable Housing Solutions Working Group, a coalition of government, business, nonprofit and faith-based organizations. Key outcomes of this group are pre-approved and affordable package homes and a housing fair for lava disaster survivors to connect with community resources. The county is also coordinating Talk Action events in Puna to hear from survivors, resulting in a better understanding of recovery opportunities and needs.

Long-term housing solutions and exploration of a community housing land trust vehicle were discussed by a county-led work group with the help of Hawai‘i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development resulting in an initial pilot project to benefit Puna residents. The development of a financial model to strengthen and sustain a community housing land trust is also underway. GRANTS MADE FOR THE REBUILD AND RESILIENCE PHASE Organization Hawai‘i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development Hawai‘i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development Housing and Land Enterprise of Hawai‘i County

Service Exploring an Affordable Housing Community Land Trust

Affordable Housing Community Land Trust Business Plan Community Land Trust to Benefit Survivors of the Kīlauea Volcanic Eruption

Maku‘u Farmers Association

Activate Puna Community Event

University of Hawai‘i Foundation

Housing Construction Internships 6

SUMMARY OF IMPACT OF GRANTS MADE As of June 2019, 18 organizations have received over $903,000 in funding to address the multiple needs of lava survivors. These grants strategically increased the capacity of nonprofit organizations to help the disaster survivors. As a result, grantees were able to leverage other funding sources and donations and resulted in: • Over 1,200 requests for assistance received through the STREAK database • Over 321,000 pounds of food, water, and supplies distributed • Over 27,000 pounds of personal hygiene kits, diapers, household items and camping gear distributed • Over 62,000 meals served • Over $362,000 in supplies distributed (e.g. gas, grocery and pharmacy gift cards) • Over 88 households placed in permanent housing • 26 loan applications for over $495,000 in loan capital processed

EXCERPT FROM HABITAT FOR HUMANITY’S REPORT The following describes how the grants they received are helping families to rebuild their lives: “A year after the 2018 Kīlauea eruption, the Puna

meet the needs of a disabled, medically fragile

district of Hawai‘i Island is transitioning from disaster

household member and senior primary caregiver.

response to disaster recovery. Permanent solutions to meet long-term recovery needs require collaboration and that’s exactly what local agencies are doing to address the unmet needs of the eruption and earthquake survivors.

Agencies, businesses, individuals and volunteer teams came together to work with the family to make their new home handicap accessible by building a ramp, deck, doorway and extended roof. HOPE Services Hawai‘i, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster,

Through the funding from the Hawai‘i Community

Aloha Independent Living Hawai‘i, Legal Aid Society,

Foundation, we were able to hire additional staffing to

FEMA, Neighborhood Place of Puna, Habitat for

help with the application process and manage the

Humanity Hawai‘i Island, Hawai‘i Regional Council of

projects that we will oversee.

Carpenters, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities Hawai‘i

One of the families lost their ‘forever’ home in Pāhoa to lava during the eruption, and although they were able to purchase a new home in Kea‘au, it needed work to

and HPM Building Supply are among the local businesses and agencies that collaborated to find the funds, materials and manpower to complete the work.”


K EY L E SSONS 1. Timely and Flexible Response: HCF found itself

4. Data-Driven Decision Making: STREAK is the HCF

playing a new role in disaster response. HCF’s credibility

funded software used to track and manage the

and transparency with contributors, and ability to

status of each household that was impacted by the

deploy grants to non-profit organizations quickly and

Kīlauea disaster. It has been pivotal to obtaining a

strategically reinforced its role as a trusted community

comprehensive and timely understanding of the

partner. Nimble and flexible internal policies allowed

needs of the community. This timely and accurate

HCF to quickly respond with leadership organizing an

data has proven invaluable to leadership from state,

internal reporting and peer review process so that

county and federal levels who used the information

grants could be proposed, approved and dispersed in

from STREAK to identify, justify and prioritize needs.

a short time frame.

5. Building Nonprofit Capacity: Many nonprofits were

2. Collaborative Response: Hawai‘i Island has a history

sorely understaffed and overwhelmed responding to

of collaboration, and it is important to maintain and

the needs of the Kīlauea disaster survivors. As we

strengthen these relationships. Government and

prepare for future disasters, it is in the best interest

community came together in an unprecedented

of organizations to have a disaster plan prepared for

manner during the Tropical Storm Iselle disaster. This

effective response, increased capacity, and best

relationship was cemented and further strengthened

utilization of resources available.

when the group was called upon to respond to the

6. Timely and Accurate Communication: Weekly

community’s needs during the 2014 lava flow that

meetings were held between key organizations that

threated the town of Pāhoa and lower Puna. The team

later formed HI-DARRT, by faith organizations, by

was again called together to respond to the Kīlauea

community responders, by a housing work group, by

Disaster. The Hawai‘i Island Disaster Assistance

the county with the displaced residents and by Civil

Response and Recovery Team, or HI-DARRT, was created

Defense and emergency responders, however, there

to formalize and institutionalize county and community

was not a key point of contact coordinating all of the

collaboration during disasters. Kīlauea Hui, a group of

efforts and communications between groups.

direct service organizations is working to coordinate services for the survivors of the Kīlauea disaster. This disaster has taught us that it is important to strengthen and maintain these collaborative relationships.

7. Pre-Disaster Planning at the Local Level: All disaster response








Government, nonprofit organizations and community and faith-based leaders are the first line of response

3. Inventory of Resources: Although social service

for their communities in times of disaster. And long

agencies, faith organizations and other community

after FEMA, American Red Cross and other national

members mobilized very quickly, increased clarity

organizations leave the disaster area, local leaders

surrounding roles and an understanding about what

will continue their work with the survivors until

each organization can do will facilitate a timely

infrastructure, housing, counseling and support needs

response and reduce duplication in future disasters.

are met. Planning efforts that result in a robust

HI-DARRT is working on developing an inventory of


organizations and resources in preparation for the

imperative to assure a timely and efficient response

next disaster.

by key stakeholders.






To learn more about the Hawai’i Island Volcano Recovery Fund visit: HawaiiCommunityFoundation.org/volcanorecovery 8

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