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Oahu program to assist with rent, utilities still open

The City and County of Honolulu is still accepting applications for the Rental and Utility Relief Program for those experiencing hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program, which opened up Monday evening to another round of 10,000 applicants, has received about 6,000 so far, leaving about 4,000 openings available.

“Helping struggling individuals and families to get back on their feet is a top priority,” said Executive Director of the Office of Economic Revitalization Amy Asselbaye in a news release. “We encourage renters who have not already applied to visit oneoahu.org/renthelp to learn more. On the web page you can review the Frequently Asked Questions, watch a webinar about the program, and click on the link to apply.”

To qualify, a household must demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19 and meet income limits, currently $62,950 for a family of four, according to city officials, or if at least one household member has been unemployed for 90 days or more when applying.

Landlords may also apply on behalf of their tenants, with their tenants’ written consent.

For qualifying households, the program will pay up to $2,500 a month for unpaid rent and bills for electricity, sewer and water, and gas; up to $2,000 a month for current or future rent payments; up to $500 a month for current or future bills for electricity, water and sewer, and gas.

The funds can be used for bills going back to March 13, 2020, as well as current bills, and three months of future bills. The payments can be made for up to 12 months

Households that applied in previous rounds should not apply again, and only one person per household should apply. Duplicate applications may be declined, and will delay the review of applications from other households in need.

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