Disaster Recovery Centers to Close April 27 but FEMA Help Still Available

HONOLULU – The Lahaina Disaster Recovery Center will close permanently on Saturday, April 27, but that doesn’t mean FEMA won’t continue to help the people who were displaced by the August wildfires on Maui or that FEMA is leaving the state.  

Helping Maui recover will take time, and FEMA will be here for the long haul.

Even after the recovery center at Lahaina Civic Center Gymnasium closes at 3 p.m. on April 27, help from FEMA is just a phone call away. Survivors can get answers from trained specialists at the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Operators speak many languages and are available to answer your questions from 2 a.m. to 9 p.m. HST, seven days a week.

Survivors who are waiting to be placed in units offered under FEMA’s Direct Lease program can call 808-784-1600. Leave your nine-digit FEMA registration number and a phone number where you can be reached, and a case worker will return your call within 24 hours. 

Those who need continuing rental assistance can reach out to FEMA Helpline specialists. It is also important to stay in touch with FEMA if you change your address or phone number, even if only temporarily. Missing or wrong information could delay your assistance.

You can also update FEMA about changes to your personal information by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov. You may click on the green ‘Check Status’ button to create an online account. Use the same email you provided when you applied for assistance. If you applied online or used the FEMA app, you already have a disaster assistance account.

As of April 20, there have been more than 50,000 visits to the four Disaster Recovery Centers that began opening within a couple weeks after the Aug. 8 wildfires. Sixty percent, or more than 30,000, were repeat visits. 

Disaster Recovery Centers, which are accessible to people with disabilities and those with access and functional needs, are one-stop shops staffed with specially trained FEMA personnel as well as representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the American Red Cross. Survivors had access to information and advice, including from specialists at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Social Security Administration, the State of Hawaiʻi Offices of Language Access and Vital Records, the Salvation Army and Kaiser Permanente, a full-service healthcare provider.

As Maui survivors settle into interim and permanent housing and disaster workers identify new strategies and resources to meet long-term recovery needs, the State of Hawaiʻi is working to open a Community Resources Center to continue addressing those needs.

For the latest information on the Maui wildfire recovery efforts, visit mauicounty.govmauirecovers.orgfema.gov/disaster/4724 and Hawaii Wildfires – YouTube. Follow FEMA on social media: @FEMARegion9 and facebook.com/fema. You may also get disaster assistance information and download applications at sba.gov/hawaii-wildfires

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