MEO seeks residents to fill out Community Needs Survey

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May 24, 2022

Maui Economic Opportunity has begun circulating a survey on the causes of poverty in Maui County to be used in the development of a Community Needs Assessment and Action Plan that the nonprofit generates every three years.

As a Community Action Partnership nonprofit, one of hundreds established in communities nationwide to battle poverty, MEO is required to create the Needs Assessment and Action Plan every three years – with the last plan drawn up in 2020.

In the last assessment, the areas of concern included cost of living, homeless support, drug abuse, mental illness and physical disability support, health care costs, a culture of a life of poverty, affordable quality child care and divorce/feminization.

“We encourage our Maui County community, including on Lana‘i and Moloka‘i, to participate in identifying critical needs and concerns in the county by filling out our survey,” said MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe. “This is the critical first step in creating an action plan to assist our residents in need.”

Based on the four-page survey and the Action Plan, the 57-year-old nonprofit will align its more than 40 programs and develop new ones if needed to tackle the top concerns of low income and other disenfranchised residents of Maui County, said Cabebe.

The next steps in developing the Action Plan include reviewing the surveys, forming and taking input from focus groups and approval by the MEO Board of Directors. The Action Plan, which will cover the period of Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2026, is being done by Dr. Lori Teragawachi, who has been contracted by MEO.

“MEO’s mission is to ‘strengthen the community while helping people in need restore their hope, reach their potential and enrich their lives,’ ’’ said Cabebe. “Please be our partner in helping our neighbors in need.”

A copy of the survey may be downloaded at, filled out and emailed to [email protected], mailed to P.O. Box 2122, Kahului, HI, 96733; or dropped off at 99 Mahalani St., Wailuku. Forms also may be filled out over the phone by calling (808) 243-4306. Please file by June 7, 2022.

Maui Economic Opportunity on Moloka‘i distributes food once a month to residents in need. Cost of living was one of the top areas of concern in the last three-year Community Needs Survey. The nonprofit is currently disseminating a survey, a beginning step in developing a Community Needs Assessment and Plan of Action for the next three years.

*About Maui Economic Opportunity*
Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc., is a nonprofit agency that’s part of the national Community Action Partnership network, whose goal is to help low income individuals and families and disenfranchised people help themselves and transform their lives. Chartered in 1965, MEO offers more than 40 programs that assist low income people, kupuna, youths, persons with disabilities, immigrants and other disenfranchised individuals. MEO runs the Human Services transportation program and the Maui Bus paratransit system and Head Start preschools, as well as programs that offer kupuna socialization and information; rent, mortgage and utility assistance; Spanish interpretation and translation; entrepreneurial and financial basics; inmate reintegration into the community after release; and youth anti-drinking, -drugs, -smoking, -bullying and -suicide prevention. For more information about the entire array of programs, visit or call (808) 249-2990.

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