Gov. Ige Announces Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program

September 8, 2020, 4:56 PM HST · Updated September 10, 8:27 AM
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Governor David Ige announced the launch of a new program that will provide federal assistance for Hawai‘i renters at risk of eviction for non-payment of rent because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State of Hawai‘i Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program will assist Hawai‘i residents who are unable to pay their rent because they’re unemployed or have had a reduction in income due to the pandemic.

Funded by federal CARES Act appropriations, the program provides renters at risk of eviction with assistance in making monthly rent as well as financial counseling.

Applications are currently being accepted for housing payments due between Aug. 1, 2020 and Dec. 28, 2020. The program is administered by non-profit partners Catholic Charities Hawai‘i and Aloha United Way.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic and its financial impacts have affected renters across the state. This program provides essential support directly to help those most at-risk and in need. We are grateful to be partnering with Aloha United Way and Catholic Charities Hawai‘i,” said Gov. Ige. “Working with the Legislature, we directed $50 million out of the $100 million in federal CARES Act funds appropriated to the first phase of this vital program, which will provide renters with assistance in making their monthly rent.”

Rob Van Tassell, Catholic Charities Hawai’i CEO and president said, “Working with clients who are struggling financially during this pandemic, Catholic Charities Hawai’i understands that many who have lost their jobs are one step away from homelessness as they cannot afford to pay their rent. This emergency rental assistance program will help keep tenants in their homes and safely sheltered, while ensuring landlords are properly compensated.”

“Aloha United Way is prepared and equipped to act as a conduit for the Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program during these trying times,” said John Fink, President and CEO of Aloha United Way. “Our goal is to ensure that qualified applicants receive assistance in a timely manner to help keep as many Hawaii residents housed as possible.”

“Catholic Charities Hawaii and Aloha United Way have a long history of helping our communities and we are honored to partner with them during this critical time. We’re also asking for kokua from industry and community leaders to spread the word and get these funds to struggling families as quickly as possible,” said Hawaii Housing and Development Corporation executive director, Denise Iseri-Matsubara.

To apply for the State of Hawai‘i Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program, go to www.hihousinghelp.com or contact either: Catholic Charities Hawai‘i at www.catholiccharitieshawaii.com or 808-521-HELP (4357); or Aloha United Way at 2-1-1 or www.auw.org. Both partners will assist the public through the process and ensure that applicants meet all eligibility requirements for program assistance.

Eligibility

Full-time Hawai‘i residents with proof of valid and current tenancy for their primary residence or who own and occupy a housing unit in Hawai‘i must show a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have a gross household income that does not exceed 100% of the HUD Area Median Income for 2020. You can apply for the Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program if you:

  • Are a full-time Hawai‘i resident.
  • Have proof of valid and current tenancy for primary residence in the state of Hawai‘i.
  • Own and occupy a housing unit in the state of Hawai‘i
  • Are 18 years of age or older.
  • Can demonstrate a loss of income directly resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Can demonstrate that your current household income does not exceed 100% Area Median Income.

Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program Details

Housing assistance payments can be made in lump sum amounts for August 1, 2020 through December 28, 2020. Payments will be made directly to landlords.

Rent Payments

  • Monthly rent payments of up to $2,000 per household residing in the City and County of Honolulu, or $1,500 per household residing in the Counties of Hawai‘i, Maui or Kaua‘i.
  • Rent payments will not exceed the actual rent owed.

Details for the second phase are being finalized, with another $50 million dedicated to covering rents and mortgages beginning on Mar. 1.

More information about the Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program, including frequently asked questions and a list of required documentation is available at www.hihousinghelp.com.

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