The week of August 7, 2023: A combination of dry acreage, a climate change phenomenon called “Flash Drought” combined with crazy winds adjacent to Hurricane Dora, resulted in the deadliest wildfires ever to strike Hawaii. Three areas on Maui were affected: Upcountry, parts of Kihei, and the most devastating, Lahaina town and surrounding residential neighborhood.  What you see from the news… the town of Lahaina is incinerated. Charred palm trees were reduced to slender matchsticks protruding into the smoky sky. Homes are ash. Streets are deserted and littered with melted vehicles. But the real tragedy is the staggering numbers of loss of life, homes, and livelihoods represented by the more than 1000 structures that are now mere ash.

HiSBDC, Maui Center will be helping in recovery efforts; a role as a local navigator to help individuals and businesses find and utilize relief and assistance from the myriad of agencies. The Red Cross and numerous local groups are already in action and recently the requisite declarations have authorized both FEMA and the SBA to provide financial assistance and life-resuming recovery strategies.

You can help.

Maui Strong Fund
Created by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation (HCF) to provide resources for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, the Maui Strong Fund is currently being used to help aid communities affected by the Maui Wildfires. You can donate online at the website or send a check to Hawai‘i Community Foundation, 827 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, HI 96813. Make checks payable to “Hawai‘i Community Foundation”. Donate online

Hawaiian Way Fund 
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is partnering with Kamehameha Schools, Alakaʻina Foundation Family of Companies, and Kākoʻo ʻo Haleakala to match up to $1,000,000 in community donations for ʻohana impacted by the devastating wildfires on Maui. Your generosity will not only help them rebuild but also show the strength of our unity and aloha spirit. Proceeds will go to Maui organizations to support relief efforts. Donate online  
Compiled and organized by the Maui County Office of Economic Development, newly launched (updated daily) is a directory of Maui Wildfire Relief Online Resources for both those that have assistance to offer as well as Assistance sources.

Initial Actions:  some things to keep in mind and prepare for if your business has been impacted.

  1. Keep a log/diary to document everything with dates, including calls, and collect receipts for any expenses incurred during this period.
  2. Gather all your basic records and registrations. You’ll need the most recent tax returns, State issued ID, etc. Provide updated contact information to your contacts, people you do business with, credit card companies, your bank, employees, vendors, suppliers, etc.
  3. Reach out to your insurance agent/company to report your loss. (…Is prerequisite for FEMA/SBA assistance)
  4. If you lease the space, contact the building owner or property manager.
  5. If you have any loans, notify lenders about this hardship.

Disaster Assistance

First, reach out to FEMA which deals more with individual assistance and is a grant -SBA will be next. Depending on your annual income,  FEMA may then refer you to the SBA Disaster or they may be able to process assistance (after the Insurance claim has been filed).

To register for FEMA Assistance, you may call 1-800-621-3362 OR Visit, enter “Maui” in the search box, then it will redirect you to a page showing Maui County as a declared county. It may take a few seconds for this page to load. There will be a button that says “Apply Now“.

For business and individual disaster assistance, you apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans. The SBA offers the following types of loans:

  • Home & Personal Property Loans
  • Business Physical Disaster Loans
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans

For more information on the types of Maui Wildfire disaster loans offered  click here.
To apply for a Maui Wildfire Disaster Loan:  Sign In -or- Register for MySBA Loan Portal
There will be a button to Apply on the leftside navigation bar, complete the application.

After creating an account/login, you will need to have your state-issued ID, social security number, and phone number or home address information available.  The SBA will be opened a Disaster Center the week of August 14 at the Kihei MRTC (Maui Research Tech Park) staffed by advisors that will help with applications.

Confused by it all?  Contact us (Maui SBDC) at 808-875-5990  or