Native Hawaiian and raised on Maui, Matt Jachowski, is a proud Maui High School graduate. When the August fires happened, he and his wife Veronica immediately knew they wanted to house fire survivors. However, finding a family proved more difficult than they expected. It was challenging for them to connect with a displaced family who wanted to live where the Jachowskis are located, near an elementary school.
“At the same time, my sister, Holly Badr-El-Din, was working with the Maui Rapid Response Housing Team, where they were pouring over spreadsheets and trying to manually connect displaced families and landlords,” Jachowski explained. “As a software developer, I knew there was a better way, so I started building a website to automatically connect landlords and homeowners to displaced families whose housing requests aligned with the homes being offered.”
He recalled, “Two months after the fire, I finally released the Maui Hale Match website, mauihalematch.org, with the support of Maui Rapid Response. Immediately, fire survivors started making housing requests. For example, on the Maui Hale Match website, displaced fire survivors input the type of housing they need, their situation, and what they can afford. Property owners and landlords input what type of housing they can offer and any other pertinent information. When there is a match, the person looking for the housing and person offering the housing are each notified about the other through email, hopefully resulting in a lease.”
Maui has many empty second homes and short-term rentals, nearly 19,000 units in West Maui and South Maui combined. Jachowski says this is far more than enough to immediately house the 3,000+ displaced families. Most of the families requesting housing want to stay on Maui, but a small number are open to housing on other islands. Homeowners statewide are encouraged to sign up and see whether they can help.
Jachowski added, “I am asking the community to spread the word about those affected by the fires who still need long-term housing and stability. My hope is that more of our second-home and short-term rental owners will open up their hearts and homes.”
I hope to make it easier for displaced fire survivors to connect with homeowners and landlords that have available units they can afford. Matt Jachowski