(BIVN) – The County of Hawai‘i has launched a new survey for residents affected by the 2018 Kīlauea eruption.
By completing the Kīlauea Recovery Housing Survey, which can be found online, residents will help the County “better understand the choices that households are weighing regarding their own recovery, establish strategies to serve residents with the Buyout Program, inform additional housing programs, and direct other recovery efforts, such as restoration of infrastructure.
The County says the Buyout application process is anticipated to start around April 30.
“We expect that the Buyout Program will go a long way to help residents find stable housing and recover economically as we regularly hear from people who were displaced and are looking for this kind of assistance,” said Douglas Le, the County’s disaster recovery officer. “We also understand that impacts and needs vary across households, and this survey will help the County ensure it spends recovery funding effectively.”
Over 600 homes were destroyed in the 2018 eruption. The County says the Buyout Program “will prioritize impacted properties that served as primary residences and applicants who are low- to moderate-income.” The program is funded by an $83.84 million Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In January, HUD allocated an additional $23.72 million CDBG-DR grant to the County.
“The Buyout Program is one tool to help eruption impacted residents move forward with their housing and along their recovery journey,” said Puna’s District 4 County Councilmember Ashley Kierkiewicz, who was quoted in Thursday news release. “It is critical that residents complete the survey as responses will help inform how we leverage and invest the additional $23.72 million in CDBG-DR funds to build a stronger, more resilient Puna.”
“Given the effects of the 2018 eruption and the Covid Pandemic, our community is in flux,” said County Councilmember Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder, who represents District 5 in Puna. “Like our landscape, it’s clear that, besides rebuilding basic infrastructure, our priorities in Puna will constantly shift. My hope is this survey will grasp what Puna needs as we rebuild foundations that will change our home forever.”
The County says print copies of the survey were mailed to owners of 1,275 properties impacted by the eruption. The deadline to respond is March 26.