Honolulu officials are hoping to extend the deadline for the use of the $500 “City Card” for disadvantaged families through Jan. 31, pending the approval of COVID-19 related legislation.
To date, a total of about 2,313 out of 3,700 cards have been activated, and approximately $1 million was spent at Oahu grocery and convenience stores, according to Amy Asselbaye, the city’s director of economic revitalization.
“We’re encouraging everyone to use the full $500 on their cards not only because it will help with your needs for food and other basic necessities like toothpaste, laundry detergent, or cleaning supplies, but also because that million dollars circulating in our economy helps pay for people’s jobs,” said Asselbaye during a press conference this afternoon. “And the more we can do, that is also a secondary purpose of the city card.”
Earlier this month, the vendor had issues with the activation of cards – funded by about $3 million from the federal CARES Act — and was working on fixing the problems.
“Again, we apologize for the delays in activation,” Asselbaye said. “It looks like we’re totally up to date on the list of folks who had problems activating. We have a new list of some folks who may have gotten a code that they input incorrectly and so we have to go back and reset the code with their passcode. But other than that, everyone who’s received a card and attempted to activate it should have received a contact by MoCaFi, and they should know their issue is getting resolved, to date.”
Caldwell said some programs supported by CARES Act funds, including the “City Card,” may now continue beyond the original deadline at the end of the year.
“We thought by the end of January should be more than sufficient time,” he said. “Obviously for those who haven’t received the card, it’s going to be a real rush.”
He also urged recipients not to throw the card away because it could possibly be reloaded in the future, should more federal funding become available.
The cards were mailed to those already participating in the city’s Household Hardship Relief Fund and other city-sponsored financial hardship programs. With today’s updated numbers, more than 1,300 have yet to be activated.
To activate the card, recipients can download the MoCaFi smartphone app via Apple Store or Google Play or call the hotline at 1-800-342-7374 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hawaii time to activate their cards.
In addition, Asselbaye said recipients can also visit oneoahu.org/city-card to activate their cards or call the city’s call center at 768-CITY to get help activating their cards.