MEO hosts focus groups to find key community needs in Maui County


June 20, 2022, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated June 19, 5:58 p.m.

Kimokeo Puaa, part of MEO’s Youth Services summer program, presents her group’s perspective on MEO departments on Thursday, June 16 during a youth focus group at MEO. PC: MOE

  • Dr. Lori Teragawachi, who leads Maui Economic Opportunity’s community needs assessment process, greets Zoom participants on Friday, June 17. PC: MOE

  • Lori Tsuhako, director of the Department of Housing and Human Affairs, and TJ Daya, director of operations for Boys and Girls Clubs of Maui, discuss Maui’s Economic Opportunity Departments and Services during a focus group on the assessment of community needs on Friday, June 17 at MEO. PC: MOE

  • Youth participants in an MOE Community Needs Assessment focus group shared their thoughts on MOE programs on Thursday, June 16th. PC: MOE

Leaders and clients from Maui County’s government, private sector, and nonprofits and Maui Economic Opportunity staff shared their thoughts on key community issues and ways to address them in facilitated focus groups last week as part of MEO’s efforts to formulate a community needs assessment, according to a press release. .

Preliminary survey results identified three main needs for Maui County: lack of access to basic health care and services for mental illness, disability and addiction; protected and unprotected homelessness; and a culture of poverty.

Community members interested in participating in the community needs assessment can still complete a survey by June 30.

The 57-year-old nonprofit Community Action Partnership, one of hundreds formed nationwide to fight poverty, has a mandate to commission a community needs assessment every three years. This assessment will be used by MOE to generate a Community Needs Plan for the period of October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2026.

Under the leadership of Dr. Lori Teragawachi, MEO distributed hundreds of surveys throughout the county and conducted focus groups and one-on-one interviews to determine key Maui County needs.

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Teragawachi will complete the community needs assessment for presentation to the MOE board in August. The Community Needs Plan will be drafted by January 2023, with MOE creating and aligning its 40+ programs to meet key community needs.

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For a survey to complete by June 30, contact Executive Assistant Lee Imada by email at [email protected] or by phone at (808) 243-4306.

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