PBN report: MEO CEO discusses 2021 highlights, 2022 goals

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December 1, 2021

Maui Economic Opportunity CEO Debbie Cabebe highlighted the work of the Being Empowered and Safe Together team and its partners who support recently released inmates reintegrate into the community in the Pacific Business News report headlined “Nonprofit Report: Q&A with Hawaii nonprofit executives on accomplishments, priorities.”

The report by Associate Editor Kelsey Kukaua, which also included a photo of the MEO Hana team delivering food, featured interviews with leaders of top nonprofit organizations in the state, including President and CEO Ryan Kusumoto of Parents and Children Together; Executive Director Connie Mitchell of The Institute for Human Services, Inc.; and President and CEO Kim–Anh Nguyen of the Blood Bank of Hawaii. The report was published Nov. 30.

Cabebe noted the challenges facing the state’s inmate population due to pandemic-related limitations. BEST helps inmates, who often leave the jail/prison with nothing more than the clothing they are wearing, transition back into the community upon release with housing, document applications, clothing, food, transportation and cellphone access. Access to mental health and substance abuse assessments and treatment and employment training and placement also are provided.

As for priorities for 2022, Cabebe said that affordable housing will be high on the list. MEO, working with partners Highridge Costa and Hale Mahaolu, will be focused on building a 120-unit, 100 percent affordable, rental development on 12 acres owned by MEO in Waiehu. The Hale Mahaolu Ke Kahua Affordable Housing Community will serve Maui County residents in the 30 to 66 percent of area median income.

Maui Economic Opportunity CEO

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