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Nonprofits get grants for COVID relief, homestead projects

Future grants are expected in fiscal year 2022

The Maui News

Four Maui County organizations have received grants from the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to assist with COVID-19 relief and priority projects.

They were among eight groups given a portion of $1 million in grants under the department’s Native Hawaiian Development Program, which makes annual grant funding available to nonprofits that demonstrate a purpose to benefit Native Hawaiians, according to a news release last week.

In October, the Hawaiian Homes Commission approved grant funds for the current fiscal year that included $500,000 to support COVID-19 relief efforts within the Native Hawaiian community and $500,000 toward Regional Plan priority projects.

The Moloka’i Homestead Farmers Alliance received $200,000 to support its existing COVID-19 relief program to distribute food, produce, hot meals, supplies (such as masks and sanitizers) and certificates for drug store/prescription purchases. The goal is to serve 800 beneficiaries on the island.

Napualei o Hina, in partnership with the Ahupua’a o Moloka’i, received $100,000 to plan, set up and implement a shared farm equipment program. Ahupua’a o Moloka’i will mentor and support Napualei o Hina through the project as part of youth leadership development training.

On Maui, the Waiohuli Hawaiian Homesteaders’ Association, Inc. also got $100,000 to conduct assessments to help determine the technical, regulatory, financial and operational needs to advance DHHL’s existing water test well into operations. The project will assist DHHL in future planning of homesteads in Kula and homestead community economic development.

The Waiehu Kou Phase 3 Association, Inc. was also awarded $92,805 for a feasibility study on the use of a vacant 4-acre property as a community garden area for subsistence agriculture. The association plans to use a fiscal sponsor, Ka’ehu.

Meanwhile, Oahu-based organization Ke Kula Nui o Waimanalo plans to use its $200,000 grant to support and expand its 20-year program for home-based aquaponic systems in the homestead areas of Waimanalo, Pi’ihonua in Hilo and Pa’upena in Upcountry Maui.

DHHL received a total of 16 applications for each of the grant offerings, “an increase of two to three times,” Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairman William Aila Jr. said.

“This highlights both the great need for community resources and the creativity and desire to come together during such a difficult period,” he added.

Future grant solicitations are expected in fiscal year 2022 if the commission approves funds.

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