Language support available to Hawaii County Emergency Rental Assistance Program applicants

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Seven local nonprofits announced that the Hawaii County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) will provide application support in eight different languages.

Services are available beginning Monday, April 12, at 8 a.m. when the program opens to the public.

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People with limited English proficiency will be able to receive support through the application process, with help from staff at four of the program’s nonprofit partners.

Staff that are fluent in different languages will be available at the following locations:


Hawaii First Federal Credit Union

Location: 1221 Kilauea Avenue, Suite 150, Hilo, HI 96720
Contact: 808-933-6600,
Staff: Joanne Matsumoto – fluent in Ilokano, Doring Aiaj – fluent in Marshallese

Neighborhood Place of Puna

Location: 16-105 Opukahaia Street, Keaau, HI 96749
Contact: 808-965-5550,
Staff: Heidi Park – fluent in Tagalog, Jason Henson – fluent in Marshallese

Hope Services Hawaii

Location: 357 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, HI 96720
Contact: 808-935-3050,
Staff: Jojo Balagot – fluent in Tagalog and Ilokano, Illeana Wilson-Fanning – fluent in Spanish, Deanna Komiyama – fluent in Chamorro

Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council

Location: 47 Rainbow Drive, Hilo, HI 96720
Contact: 808-932-2714,
Staff: James Bird – fluent in Samoan, Gerico Caban – fluent in Ilokano, Blossom Evans – fluent in Hawaiian, Aleksandr Burko – fluent in Russian

“Programs like this mean nothing if they aren’t easily accessible to all,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth. “For us to truly serve our diverse communities, we need to account for all of the languages commonly spoken here – not just English.”

ERAP will provide rent and utility grants to an estimated 3,400 households that qualify by income and proof of hardship due to COVID-19 for each month they receive assistance from March 2020 to December 2021.

Funding will be limited to households’ primary residence on the Big Island. Households will be limited to 12 months of total grant assistance.

Those who have been impacted by COVID-19 and are late on their rent and/or utilities should apply through one of the nonprofit partners. Anyone without computer access can call one of the ERAP nonprofit partners to request a paper application or complete an application over the phone.

ERAP Qualifications

To qualify for rent or utility assistance grants, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a Hawai’i Island resident
  • 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

See the chart below to determine if your household income qualifies:

# Household Members | Annual Household Income Maximum
1 – $47,950
2 – $54,800
3 – $61,650
4 – $68,500
5 – $74,000
6 – $79,500
7 – $84,950
8 – $90,450

ERAP will give priority to households at or below 50% of area median income with household members who have been unemployed for 90 days preceding the date of the application.

Required Documents

Applicants will be required to submit the following documents with their applications starting April 12th to be considered for rent or utility assistance:

  • Proof of Resident and Age
    • Copy of photo ID
  • Income Documents for ALL household members (provide all that apply)
    • All pages and scheduled for 2020 Federal Tax Form
    • 30 days most recent pay stubs
    • 1 month most recent business bank statements (if self-employed)
    • Unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefit letter
    • Public benefit statements
    • Other income documentation (child/alimony support letter, pension/retirement statement)
    • Housing: Copy of completed, current, and signed rental lease/contract
  • Proof of Hardship (provide 1 of the following)
    • Unemployment or PUA approval letter
    • Written attestation (request from nonprofit)
  • Housing Assistance Need (provide 1 of the following)
    • Past due rent notice with the amount owed
    • Eviction notice with the amount owed
    • Past-due utility notice

Click here for more information on how to apply.

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