Rent, utility relief available now for Kauai County and Oahu residents

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FILE – Yellow facial mask laying on top of the eviction note. (Credit: Getty)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Rent relief is available to Kauai County and Oahu residents struggling amid the ongoing pandemic.

The City and County of Honolulu has restarted its Rental Utility Relief Program and is currently accepting up to 5,000 new applications from renters. An update from the Office of Economic Revitalization said 2,000 applications had been received in Honolulu as of 4 p.m.

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“The Rental and Utility Relief Program is a major part of the City’s outreach to help our neighbors stay in their homes and make landlords whole,” said Amy Asselbaye, Executive Director of the Office of Economic Revitalization. “We know landlords are struggling too. The program supports them by making direct payments to approved landlords of up to 12 months of unpaid rent or future rent.”

Overall, the program has approved more than 6,000 households for help and distributed about $50 million to landlords and utility companies since starting in April.

Households making at or below 80% of Oahu’s median income can apply.

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To qualify, a household must demonstrate it is struggling financially because of the pandemic and have at least one member at risk of losing housing. A household can also qualify if at least one member has been unemployed for 90 days when applying.

To apply:

  • Gather needed documents. There’s a complete list of required documents in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) here.
  • Make sure you are a new applicant. Those who have already applied should not apply again.
  • Only one person per household should apply.
  •  Don’t apply for mortgage help.

The City is drawing down the next allotment of federal rent and utility funding to expedite payments for the remaining approved applications.

For households that qualify, the program will pay:

  • Up to $2,500 a month for unpaid rent and electric, sewer and water or gas bills.
  • Up to $2,000 a month for rent payments.
  • Up to $500 a month for electric, water and sewer and gas bills.
  • Bills going back to March 13, 2020 or future bills.

For more information, click here or call (808) 768-CITY (2489). The City’s call center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.

On Kauai, in-person assistance will be available starting Monday for residents looking to apply for the county’s 2021 Coronavirus Rental and Utility Assistance Program through the Kauai Government Employees Federal Credit Union (KGEFCU).

The program is designed to support individuals and families that need help covering essential costs of living expenses.

Eligible expenses include rental arrears, future rent and utilities in arrears for March 2020 through December 2021.

Households that have been impacted, directly or indirectly, by the COVID-19 pandemic and are past due on their rent and/or utilities are encouraged to apply for the program.

Funding will be limited to households that have a primary residence on Kauai and Ni‘ihau. A total of 12 months of financial assistance may be awarded. Eligible applicants may receive up to $4,500 per month for rent with no cap per month for qualifying utilities.

In-person assistance will be offered to applicants as follows:

  • Monday, Aug. 16 – Hanapēpē Neighborhood Center, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 17 – KGEFCU Kīlauea Branch in the Ahuimanu Shopping Center, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 18 – Kalāheo Neighborhood Center, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 19 – The Hanalei Initiative, suite E-205 on Kuhio Highway, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We encourage all residents who are struggling with rent and utility payments to apply for this program, and we’re doing all we can to make this process as seamless as possible,” said Adam Roversi, KGEFCU Housing Director. “It’s also important to remember that the CDC’s recent eviction ban is only temporary. That’s why it’s important to prepare sooner rather than later, and next week’s events are the perfect opportunity to learn more.”

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Required documentation should be prepared and on hand. For a list of documents, please visit click here.

Online applications are also being accepted here.

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