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MEO holds focus group meetings

Kimokeo Puaa, who is part of the Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services summer program, presents his group’s views on the nonprofit’s departments last week at a youth focus group held at MEO. Photo courtesy Maui Economic Opportunity

Local government, private and nonprofit leaders and clients and staff of Maui Economic Opportunity offered their views on top community problems and ways to address them in focus groups organized last week as part of MEO’s effort to formulate a Community Needs Assessment.

The nonprofit is mandated to commission a Community Needs Assessment every three years. This assessment will be used by MEO to generate a Community Needs Plan for the Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2026, period.

MEO has disseminated hundreds of surveys countywide and held focus groups and individual interviews to determine the top needs of Maui County. The Community Needs Assessment will be presented to the MEO Board of Directors in August. The Community Needs Plan will be drafted by January, with MEO creating and aligning its 40-plus programs to address the top community needs.

Preliminary survey results have identified three top needs, including a lack of access to basic health care and services for mental illness, disabilities and drug abuse; homelessness; and a culture of poverty.

Community members interested in participating in the Community Needs Assessment can still fill out a survey by Thursday. To obtain a survey, contact Lee Imada at lee.imada@meoinc.org or (808) 243-4306.

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