How long survivors can expect the monthly fire relief payments is unclear.

The People’s Fund of Maui established by Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson will disburse its second round of $1,200 payments this week.

More than 8,100 affected residents of Lahaina and Kula will have received $19.4 million, according to a fact sheet released by Michelle Suess, a public relations consultant for the fund.

The fund is administered by the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a California-based nonprofit founded in 1942 that channels celebrity philanthropy. The organization declined to comment for this story.

Kaimana Brumell, the Maui liaison between the fund and the local community, did not respond to voicemails and a Facebook message left requesting comment Tuesday.

The People’s Fund Of Maui will have disbursed $19.4 million in two payments by the end of October. (Hawaii News Now)

Any adult who lived in Lahaina or Kula and was displaced by the August wildfires is eligible to receive the monthly payment, however, the deadline to apply was Sept. 22.

The celebrity pair launched the relief fund on Aug. 31 with $10 million of their own money, and more than 18,000 additional donations have since been made.

On Sept. 19 the first round of payments went out to over 5,000 Maui residents, the foundation said.

More than 3,000 others were later approved, although some applicants have still not received assistance.

Ray Vega, a displaced Lahaina resident, said both he and his girlfriend had registered with the fund at the same time. While she was approved and received a payment, his application was held up because he still had a mainland ID.

“I had a W-2 stating my address. I had my birth certificate, and a bunch of check stubs. I even had a letter from my landlord, and I had a letter from my boss. And I was like, what more can I get? Everything else burned,” Vega said.

He eventually acquired a Hawaii ID with his local address and was approved, but until this week had not received any money. A new email told him he would receive both the first and second payments this week.

“Nothing’s come through like it’s supposed to. So I’m not counting on it. We’ll see,” said Vega.

Keahi Ho and Ali Grimes say they faced delays accessing payments from the fund. (Courtesy: Ali Grimes)

Ali Grimes and her partner Keahi Ho, a Lahaina firefighter, faced similar delays.

While Ho got a payment in September, Grimes only recently learned she will get her first payment in this next round.

Grimes said the process — one she has repeated multiple times for federal and private assistance — required patience since “it’s like a full-time job filling out all these applications.”

“I do feel that it is a truly wonderful program, because whether it’s for six months or if it has the power to continue, it’s just helping us with income on a regular basis,” she said.

While over $19 million will be disbursed by the end of October, it’s unclear how large the fund is or how long Maui residents can expect payments, based on the information provided.

Winfrey wrote in a blog post that the fund will last at least six months. That would amount to approximately $58 million in needed funds with the current number of approved applicants.

But the fact sheet provided by the foundation said “monthly aid will last as long as the funds are available.”

It also noted they are still actively fundraising, and that disbursements will not affect tax liability or access by recipients to other charitable donations.

The effort sparked some online backlash after Winfrey and Johnson solicited additional donations for the fund, given their collective net worth.

“Honestly, it probably would have raised more money if people didn’t come down so hard on them,” said Grimes. “It probably scared some people off with all that negativity.”

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by a grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

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