Question: Regarding the rent relief (808ne.ws/rent relief), my landlord said she would finish the paperwork, but I guess she didn’t. Is it too late now?
Answer: No, it is not too late for a landlord to verify a pending application that a tenant had previously submitted, which is your situation. However, it is too late for a tenant to submit a brand-new application; those are closed.
Kokua Line has received numerous questions about the state’s Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program, which, as of Friday, said it had disbursed nearly $51 million in rent or mortgage relief, assisting a total of 12,000 Hawaii households. Another nearly $6.5 million was pending verification by the landlords who are supposed to receive the money.
The program required the tenant to submit the application and the landlord to verify it. Now the state and its nonprofit partners are trying to reach landlords like yours, who have failed to finalize an eligible application by completing the vendor verification form.
If you applied through Catholic Charities Hawaii, you can point your landlord to the verification form CCH uses, at 808ne.ws/verform. Your landlord will need the Tenant Unique Identifier code you were assigned when you submitted the initial application.
You can also let your landlord know to expect a call from a program representative to verify the application. Depending on how you applied and the status of your application, the call could come from CCH, Aloha United Way or an affiliated nonprofit or credit union that is helping to process the applications and collect information for the vendor verification forms.
Q: Can they pay the money to the tenant and then the tenant pays the landlord, rather than trying to make the landlord comply?
A: No, payments are to the landlords; there was no last-minute change to this requirement. A Honolulu Star-Advertiser story referred to in the first question said that some landlords apparently are failing to finalize their tenants’ applications because they don’t pay taxes on the rental income and don’t want to confirm that fact by verifying themselves as a landlord in a government program.
Q: I am a tenant. How do I check my application status?
A: Go to HiHousingHelp.com to check your application status online. Use the look-up app for the nonprofit through which you applied, either Catholic Charities Hawaii or Aloha United Way.
Q: Is this the same as the county program?
A: No. The state program is separate from rent relief programs run by the counties. Applicants may receive rental assistance from one or another but not both. Moreover, applicants who received aid from the state program through AUW were not eligible to also apply through CCH. These problems occurred early on, according to the state, which said that “an initial challenge was deploying the same applicant filing system for various rental aid programs administered by the state and counties. Unfortunately, having to do this slowed down the verification processes since the organizations could not legally issue duplicate checks for the same applicant who might have applied to multiple relief programs. Considerable resources were required to sync systems in the program’s beginning stages, but this effort proved worth the up-front attention.”
Q: I know this is a touchy subject, but will there be permits for legal fireworks this year?
A: Yes. Oahu residents 18 and older with a valid ID may purchase a permit for firecrackers online, at www1.honolulu.gov/ hfdfireworks. Once purchased, you would pick up the permit at a designated satellite city hall.
Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.