Readout of Day One of SBA Administrator Guzman’s Visit to Maui for 6-Month Assessment of Wildfire Recovery Efforts

HAWAII, Feb. 09, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — On Feb. 8, Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s cabinet for America’s more than 33 million small businesses, traveled to Maui with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and other federal and local officials for a six-month assessment of recovery efforts since the devastating August 2023 wildfires.

In the morning, Administrator Guzman participated in a press conference with Hawaii Governor Josh Green, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, HUD Principal Assistant Deputy Secretary Marion McFadden, EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Cheree Peterson to highlight the progress of Maui’s recovery over the last six months. She also participated in a meeting with federal and local officials to receive status updates and chart a path forward for long-term recovery efforts. She also participated in meetings with non-profits and community leaders involved in Maui’s long-term recovery to learn how the SBA can continue to support survivors and all those impacted by the wildfires in partnership with local stakeholders.

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In the afternoon, Administrator Guzman visited two Maui small businesses, Rio Event Design, and Whalers Fine Jewelry, to hear how they were impacted by the wildfires and how SBA programs help small businesses suffering from financial loss as the result of a disaster.

Administrator Guzman then visited the Maui Chamber of Commerce for a Native Listening Session, where she connected with local Native Hawaiian business owners and leaders on Maui to discuss the wildfires’ unique impact on Native Hawaiian communities and the role of the SBA in aiding economic recovery.

Later in the day, Administrator Guzman visited a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) with Administrator Criswell to underscore the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government response to the Maui wildfires. At the DRC, the Administrators met with impacted survivors and dedicated staff to see how federal agencies are collaborating on the ground to provide relief for the community.

For follow-up interview requests for Administrator Guzman, please contact Rebecca Galanti at [email protected].  

Event Photos available upon request at: [email protected]

Press Conference with Federal, State, and Local Partners

Image Description: Administrator Guzman (C) speaks at a press conference alongside Hawaii Governor Josh Green (L), FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (center right), and Maui Mayor Richard Bissen (second from right).

Long-Term Recovery Meeting

Image Description: Administrator Guzman (L) participates in a long-term recovery meeting with federal, state, and local partners.

Kīpaepae Ceremony

Image Description: Administrator Guzman (second from left) participates in a Kīpaepae Ceremony before attending a long-term recovery meeting.

Native Listening Session

Image Description: Administrator Guzman (R) participates in a listening session with United Way President and CEO Angela Williams (L) and Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Meeting with a Hawaii Small Business Owner

Image Description: Administrator Guzman (L) speaks with Rodrigo Botta (R), owner of Rio Event Design, a small business that received an EIDL loan after being forced to shut down for two months.

Visiting a Disaster Recovery Center

Image Description: Administrator Guzman (L) meets with SBA staff at a Disaster Recovery Center.

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About the U.S. Small Business Administration 
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov. 


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