Kaua‘i, Maui to get $400K for storm cleanup

HONOLULU — Officials announced on Monday that Kaua‘i and Maui will get a combined $400,000 to clean up damage from heavy storms that hit Hawai‘i in March.

The money will fund 20 temporary jobs for people to clean and repair damaged homes, land and public structures.

“The funding will provide much-needed jobs for dislocated workers while helping our affected communities recover from the aftermath of the March storms,” Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawai‘i, said in a press release Monday.

The funds come from the U.S. Department of Labor through its National Emergency Grant.

“I applaud President Obama for recognizing the emergency situation on these Neighbor Islands and for implementing a solution that provides interim employment for out-of-work kama‘aina,” Sen. Daniel Akaka said in the release.

The grant was announced jointly by Hawai‘i’s federal congressional delegation, including Hanabusa, Akaka, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawai‘i, and Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai‘i.

Cleanup efforts will specifically target homes where owners are eligible for a federally funded weatherization program.

“With unfortunate, increasing frequency, we see severe weather like we did in March when violent storm systems pelted our islands with heavy rain and golf ball sized hail stones,” Inouye said in the release. “Many homes, businesses and public areas located in low lying areas were badly damaged by flooding.”

Hirono said it’s fortunate that this kind of help is available during a time of need.

“This investment in our communities will assist many families while creating good jobs,” Hirono said.

The NEG funds will be used to:

 •  Provide temporary employment on projects to assist with clean-up, demolition, repair, renovation, and reconstruction of destroyed public structures, facilities, and lands within the affected communities, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid and safety assistance, as needed.

•  Provide core, intensive, and retraining services upon completion of the temporary jobs component for participants for whom permanent work is not available.

•  Perform  work on the homes of economically disadvantaged individuals who are eligible for the Federally-funded weatherization program, with priority given to services for the elderly and individuals with disabilities.

 Call the Hawai‘i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations at (808) 586-8812 for information on how the funds will be distributed.

Visit www.doleta.gov/neg/ for more information.

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