Honolulu’s Rental and Utility Relief Program has been expanded to include households at or below 80% of Oahu’s area median income. Previously, it was for households below 50% of the area median income.
The city will still accept about 3,000 applications in this round of applications, which usually reopen on the first Monday of the month. The application period that started on June 7 had 10,000 available applications, 7,000 of which went to those below 50% of the area median income.
A household of four at 80% of the area median income earns about $100,700 a year. In comparison, a household of four at 50% of the area median income makes $62,950 a year.
Households that qualify will be able to receive up to $2,500 a month for outstanding rent and utility payments, up to $2,000 for future rent payments and up to $500 for future utility payments. The total amount of these payments can continue for up to 12 months and will be made directly to the landlord or utility company. The program can cover bills dating back to March 2020.
Honolulu launched the program in early April to distribute $114 million in federal COVID relief for rent and utilities by the end of the year.
The program has helped more than 3,300 households so far and approved $25 million for rent and utility help for families.
The majority of approved applications were from households making about 30% of the area median income in Honolulu. which is less than $40,000 a year for a family of four.
“Since the program opened for applications in April, we have prioritized people and families most in danger of losing their housing,”said Executive Director of the Office of Economic Revitalization Amy Asselbaye in a statement.
“After helping those hit hardest by the pandemic, we want to expand access to rent and utility relief to more of our neighbors on Oahu.”
Those who make over 80% of the area median income should not apply because the applications will be rejected, and could delay application processing.