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City unveils rental and utility relief program

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has announced the start of the Rental and Utilities Relief Program, noting that it will begin accepting nominations as of Monday, April 5 at noon.

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However, the program was not open for a long time. Due to a broad response from Oahu residents in need, the city said it will temporarily shut down its rental and utility relief program to new applications. The program is expected to reopen after processing the first 8,000 applications.

Individuals who have started their applications should continue to submit their application materials to the personalized link provided to them.

The time to reopen the portal has not yet been determined for the next round of applications.

Helping people who are struggling to get back on their feet is a major part of our recovery program, said Mayor Blangiardi. The Tenancy and Utilities Relief Program is one of our most powerful tools for securing financial support to those most in need of help paying their rent and delinquent utilities. The program has $ 114 million in coronavirus relief funds under the Consolidated Appropriation Act 2021. Our goal is to spend every dollar fairly and efficiently to support our community and our recovery.

The program requires that an eligible household:

  • Show the financial damage caused by the pandemic, such as qualifying for unemployment, job loss, reduced wages, or increased household expenses.
  • Show that at least one member of the household is at risk of losing their home.
  • Be below the income limits.

Priority is given to the following applicants:

  • Household income less than 50% of the region’s median income for Honolulu County; OR
  • The household member has been unemployed for at least 90 days at the time of the application AND is still unemployed at the time of the application

Only one person per household should apply. Additionally, landlords can apply on behalf of their tenants, with tenants’ permission.

For eligible households, the program will pay:

  • Up to $ 2,500 per month in rent and utilities.
  • Up to $ 2,000 for future rent payments.
  • Up to $ 500 per month for future electricity, water, sewer and gas bills.
  • Total payments can be up to 12 months.
  • Payments will be made directly to an owner or utility.

The Rental and Utilities Relief Program can pay bills as of March 2020, current or future bills, depending on household needs.

We know our community is still struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many residents still need help, said Catholic Charities Hawaii President and CEO Robert Van Tassell. This emergency rental assistance program aims to keep tenants in their homes and shelter them safely, while ensuring that landlords are paid properly. We thank Mayor Blangiardi and the City and County of Honolulu for allowing Catholic Charities Hawai’i to be a part of this important program.

Applications are accepted online here.

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