The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is offering more than $1 million in emergency financial assistance to Native Hawaiians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
OHA is encouraging Native Hawaiians – who are at least 18 years old and in financial hardship – to review program requirements and apply for assistance with housing or utility payments.
OHA’s Ka Wailele Emergency Financial Assistance Program will provide grants up to $1,500 for past due rent, mortgage, utilities and rent deposits to an estimated 520 households that can prove Native Hawaiian ancestry, Hawaii residency, financial hardship, and need for housing or utility assistance.
The program is being administered by Hawaiʻi Community Lending, a Native Hawaiian community development financial institution. HCL will process applications and make payments directly to landlords, mortgage lenders, or utility providers.
Financial counseling, additional grants, affordable loans, and career coaching will also be available to approved applicants through Financial Opportunity Centers run by HCL’s parent corporation, Hawaiian Community Assets.
“Supporting Native Hawaiian ohana in successfully navigating the challenges they face is integral to the work we do at OHA,” said OHA CEO Sylvia Hussey in a news release. “We hope that the emergency financial assistance from OHA will help alleviate some of the stress created by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as connect ohana with other valuable resources that are available to them.”
Native Hawaiians are limited in receiving one OHA emergency financial assistance grant every two years.
OHA began accepting applications on Tuesday. To apply, visit oha.org/emergencyaid or kawailele.org or call HCL at 587-7656. In-person assistance is also available at Financial Opportunity Centers and remote offices statewide.