Congressional Delegation Surveys Puna
On Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, Rep. Gabbard led a congressional delegation to survey the impact of the recent Kīlauea eruptions in order to help determine federal actions that can be taken to support the community.
Rep. Jason Smith of the U.S. House Budget Committee and U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, and Rep. Markwayne Mullin of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, took an aerial tour of the impacted area with the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard, then joined Rep. Gabbard and representatives from the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard and Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense in touring the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center at the Pāhoa Community Center, the new micro-homes project in Pāhoa, and Fissures 8 and 9 in Leilani Estates.
At the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), the lawmakers were briefed by FEMA and SBA officials on managing support and resources for those impacted by the lava flows, including the challenge of a shortage of affordable housing and rental units in the community available for those displaced by the lava flow. The lawmakers also thanked FEMA Corps volunteers from across the country working at the DRC in Pāhoa who assist with processing claims and providing help to those in need.
At the Pāhoa micro-homes project site, the lawmakers were briefed by Brandee Menino of Hope Services Hawaiʻi and Gilbert Aguinaldo about how the 20-home project came together in less than one month with the support of the community and the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard. They also discussed how the project can serve as a model to the nation to meet emergency and transitional housing needs. Rep. Gabbard will continue to work with lawmakers to help secure additional federal resources for the community.