Elite Pacific Properties’ agents across the Big Island are keeping the Aloha Spirit alive after the May 3, 2018 breakout lava flow of Hawaii Island’s Kilauea volcano in Leilani Estates. So far, the lava has destroyed some 36 structures, including 27 homes and displaced some 1,700 residents from the Leilani Estates, Lanipuna Gardens, and immediately surrounding area.
“Hawaii has such a strong culture of neighbors assisting those in need,” said Paul Mayer, Managing Partner of Elite Pacific Properties. “Our brokerage agents, property managers, and staff are all deeply integrated into their communities, and many of them have been active in assisting their clients, neighbors, and others impacted by both the recent flooding on Kauai and the eruption on the Big Island.”
House burns in Leilani Estates. Image Courtesy of Greg Chunn
Vacation Rental Property Manager Provides Shelter and Hope
Jessica Gauthier, Elite Vacation Rental Property Manager, along with her husband Micah, have been providing shelter for families and assisting them to find more permanent housing. In working with the local organization Pu'uhonua o Puna, Jessica formed an Amazon wishlist of the most needed supplies including toiletries, tarps, and gas masks. Residents, many of whom were at work and school, were evacuated suddenly to shelters, and unable to go back to their homes to retrieve necessities. Now some residents have been allowed back in, however, they face toxic sulfur dioxide clouds if they attempt to recover what belongings they can. “I have even reached out to a major shoe retailer for a large donation of new shoes,” Jessica explains as the gravity of what these families face sets in. Please donate to lava victims here!
Kailua-Kona Agent Donation Drive
Kailua-Kona resident and Elite agent Kelly Shaw is organizing a donation drive at the local gym to then caravan truckloads of supplies from Kailua-Kona to Puna shelters. “I feel like my heart is crying for the people affected and this is the only thing I could think to do. I couldn’t not do anything.” Kelly adds, “These people have nothing left, and there is such an abundance in Kona.” Contact Kelly if you are in the Kona area and wish to help evacuees.
Hilo Agent Helping Animals Escape Lava
Elite Pacific Properties agent Dylan Shropshire along with ranch manager Girard Delima sprang into action rescuing 26 horses from a Leilani area ranch with his cattle trailer. They are currently fostering 12 of the horses in his pastures on the Hamakua Coast. “I have posted on social media letting my friends know to spread the word to anyone whose animals are in need. I am extremely proud of Girard, the residents, and community of the Big Island working together to help any affected by the recent eruptions. I cannot be more proud of my home.” Dylan said.
Hilo Agent Finding Homes for Leilani Estates Residents
Another Elite agent, Donna Duryea, has been awestruck by the families that are displaced. One such family, the Kealoha’s, purchased a home in Leilani Estates through Duryea in September 2017. Kelena and Zoe Kealoha were displaced by California wildfires and looked for a fresh start in Leilani. Today, Donna is searching for suitable housing for the family of five, their two dogs, and cat. Meanwhile, the family is staying with Kelena’s parents in Kona, but the situation is not ideal. “Kelena works in Hilo, and he has been commuting each day. I’m trying so hard to find them something better,” Donna says. If you have a home in the Hilo area for the Kealoha's, please contact Donna.
Donna has family ties to Leilani Estates. Her sister-in-law's parents fled as lava fountained over 100ft in the air. The pair, who have lived in Leilani Estates for 30 years, was temporarily trapped but able to escape leaving much of their belongings and beloved birds behind. Luckily, days later there was a window of opportunity to retrieve items from home including their birds. Donna searched for a place for the elderly couple to stay, thankfully finding a someone who was going away for six weeks and was happy to have house sitters.
Kauai Flood Relief Continues
Elite agents’ lava relief efforts come on the heels of the April storm in Kauai which brought massive flooding to parts of the island. To provide aid to hardest hit Hanalei, Elite is donating 5% of revenues from all Kauai vacation rental bookings directly to the families of Hanalei, Ha'ena, and Wainiha to assist with their recovery. Kauai vacation reservations are accepted through evrhi.com.
Learn what you can do to help victims of the Big Island Lava Flow here.