“We want to keep people in their homes because we don’t need additional people who are homeless during this very, very difficult time,” Ige said in a media briefing at the Hawaii State Capitol.
The program, to be funded by federal CARES Act COVID-19 relief funds, will provide renters with monthly rent, as well as financial counseling, and will be administered by Catholic Charities Hawaii and Aloha United Way.
“If you’re unemployed or partially unemployed due to the pandemic and your household income is at or below 100% of area median income, then you may qualify for financial assistance under this program,” said Denise Iseri-Matsubarau, executive director of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp.
“It’s not a grant or a loan. It’s a payment to help those at risk of eviction through no fault of their own,” Iseri-Matsubarau said.
Payments could go up to $2,000 per month on Oahu and $1,500 per month on the neighbor islands. Payments will be made directly to landlords through the nonprofit partners and can be made in lump sum amounts of up to three months at a time, officials said.
Applications for assistance are now being accepted for rent payments due between Aug. 1 and Dec. 28. Details of a second phase that will cover rents and mortgages from March 1 will be announced soon.
Last month Ige continued a statewide moratorium on evictions through the end of September.
“But we must do more to keep families in their homes,” Ige said.
For more information, go to hihousinghelp.com.