Elevating Community Voices to Create a “Place of Peaceful Recovery”

Apr 26, 2024 | TAGS: Planning, Process, 2024

Ka Laʻi Ola – Place of Peaceful Recovery

Ka – the | lai – peace, serenity, solace | ola – life, recovered, healed

Creating the plans for Ka Laʻi Ola has included many conversations about how to develop a site that truly lives up to its name. Although the road to recovery begins with a stable home, there are other factors that will impact households’ ability to recover and rebuild their lives.

One important part of this planning has been the community charette process. HomeAid Hawaiʻi has led a series of community charettes on Maui to bring together impacted groups and the people who serve them.

What is a Charette?

A charette is an event that brings together people from across disciplines and organizations to collaborate on solutions to complex challenges.

According to the American Planning Association, a charette is,

“a multiday community engagement event where stakeholders and decision makers work alongside experts to co-develop solutions to built environment problems.... When the right people are engaged at the right time, with the right information and in the right place, charrettes can build trust and provide the space for people to work together to solve divisive issues and create successful projects...”

On Maui, HomeAid Hawaiʻi hosted a series of charettes to help establish the land plans, building specifications, services, and processes that will make Ka Laʻi Ola a success. Over the span of several days in February and April, we convened groups of community organizations and planners to talk through topics such as:

  • Land planning
  • Modular home provider due diligence
  • Co-design of community spaces
  • Eligibility, application, and intake processes
  • Tenancy considerations
  • Safety and security
  • Case management and community health services
  • Resiliency services and programming for impacted households

In the charette meetings, many conversations would begin with, “what do we need to know about x?” or “what will different communities require related to y?” Then, each constituency present had an opportunity to provide answers, share concerns, and/or propose solutions. HomeAid Hawaiʻi Executive Director, Kimo Carvalho, moderated the dialogue and ensured all voices were heard and all positions were considered.

Many of the groups in attendance have been working with wildfire survivors since day one. They represent the thousands of people who have been living in hotels, searching for work, trying to feed their families and give their children a sense of normalcy. They understand the unique challenges that face these households – from finding housing that will accommodate larger than average families to completing piles of paperwork to determine eligibility for wildfire-related aid to making space for culturally appropriate gatherings and practices.

Charettes are an important part of the development process. They are also one of the unique assets HomeAid Hawaiʻi brings to the process as a non-profit developer focused on successful outcomes for those we serve. Building an interim housing community for vulnerable populations isn’t just about building homes, it is also about rebuilding people’s lives.

Read our May 2024 newsletter to learn more about our efforts for Ka Laʻi Ola.