(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi County is creating new, temporary positions under the Planning Department, using federal grant money, in order to stand up a Disaster Case Management Program following the destructive eruption of Kīlauea Volcano in 2018.
Resolution 103-19, which was passed by the Hawaiʻi County Council on Thursday, creates three new temporary positions: a Program Manager, Accountant II, and Program Support Technician positions. The new hires would help implement the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Care Management Program, or DCMP, which will provide social services for people who were displaced and impacted by the Kīlauea eruption, the County says.
According to the documents supporting the resolution:
On November 5, 2018, the County of Hawaiʻi submitted a Disaster Case Management Program grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide long-term case management services to the survivors of Kīlauea Eruptions. The County was awarded $1,734,372.98 in funding.
The DCMP is a time-limited program that will be delivered by a contracted social service provider. The contract will be administered by County staff.
The County resolution says the DCMP includes the following:
- Assessment of the survivor’s verified disaster-caused unmet needs;
- Development of a goal- oriented plan that outlines the steps necessary to achieve recovery;
- Organization and coordination of information on available resources that match the disaster-caused-need;
- Monitoring of progress toward reaching the recovery plan goals, and when necessary, client advocacy
“We’ve been trying to stand up a lot of things after this event,” said Hilo councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, who has taken an active role in the recovery effort, “and this is actually really a bright line of hope that we actually can start standing up the programs that the community needs.”
Sharon Hirota of the Mayor’s Office talked about the private contractor that will be hired to deliver the program, and said a Request For Proposals was posted on March 15 by the County purchasing department. “It will be posted for 30 days,” Hirota said, adding that the “deadline to respond is 4:30 on April 15th. Once it is closed, then the purchasing department will go through their normal procedures and then refer the responses to the review committee. Then the review committee will make its recommendation back to purchasing, and if all goes well, the award will be made. We are working up against a deadline given by FEMA as to when this grant will end. I’m hoping that the grant will be in place, at the latest, mid-May.”
“Just to be clear, if an individual is not in any one of the four databases that are being merged right now, there will still be a pathway for individuals impacted by the disaster to access resources and to have their case managed?” asked Puna councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz, who introduced the measure.
Yes, Hirota answered, adding that “part of the proposal that went out is outreach to the community.”
It was also clarified that none of the money that’s being awarded as part of the grant will be used as direct grants to individuals, but rather it will be used strictly to administer the case management program.