HONOLULU (KHON2) — Several local nonprofit organizations are joining together to help Big Island residents who are struggling to pay rent. The Hawaii County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) was launched on Thursday.

The ERAP aims to help an estimated 3,400 Big Island households pay their rent and utilities. Financial assistance is provided by the County of Hawaii through federal funds and led by local nonprofit partners.

The ERAP nonprofit partners are:

357 Waianuenue Avenue
Hilo, HI 96720

1221 Kilauea Avenue, Suite 150
Hilo, HI 96720

16‐105 Opukahaia Street
Keaau, HI 96749

73‐4161 Uluwini Place
Kailua‐Kona, HI 96740

219 Ponahawai Street
Hilo, HI 97620

47 Rainbow Drive
Hilo, HI 96720

“We are honored to be able to provide relief to our local families by alleviating some of the financial pressures caused by the COVID‐19 pandemic,” said Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth. “With the help of local nonprofit organizations, we will keep the roofs over the heads of 3,400 households, and that, to me, is something pretty special. Through continued partnerships and the community’s support, we can and will thrive through this pandemic together!”

To qualify, you must:

  • Be a Hawaii Island resident.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Lost income due to COVID‐19.
  • 2020 or current annual gross household income at or below 80% of area median income for the number of members in their household.

The program applications will be made available starting Monday, April 12, at 8 a.m.   

Applicants will be required to submit the following documents with their applications:

  • Copy of government-issued photo ID.
  • 30 days most recent pay stubs for all household members.
  • Two months most recent business bank statements (if self‐employed) for all household members.
  • Unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefit letter for all household members.
  • Public benefit statements for all household members.
  • Copy of rental lease/contract.

In addition, households will also need to provide at least one of the following as proof of hardship:

  • 30 days of paystubs for February 2020.
  • Unemployment or PUA approval letter.
  • Letter from employer verifying job loss or reduced work hours.
  • Business bank statements for January and February 2020 (if self‐employed).
  • Housing Assistance Need (provide 1 of the following).
  • Past due rent notice.
  • Eviction notice.
  • Past due utility notice.

Payments will be made directly to landlords, property managers or utility providers. Households will be limited to 12 months of total grant assistance.

Approved applicants will also have access to financial counseling and other housing stability services.

For more information or to apply, contact one of the ERAP nonprofit partners listed above.