by: Mari-Ela David
(KHNL) - They lost their jobs and there were fears they could also lose their homes.
Now, there's some relief for former Del Monte workers.
The plantation shut down last November, leaving at least 500 workers without jobs.
The state is now finally sending them some aid.
Many of the workers live at the Del Monte Camp in Kunia.
Their lease ends in 2008, leaving many scrambling to find a new home.
To help them out, Lt. Governor Duke Aiona signed a bill Thursday that frees up $1.2 million in state funds for displaced workers. Workers can use the money to pay for their rent or mortgage. Residents at the Del Monte Camp say it's much needed assistance.
"Because maybe I can move already from here, can find a house to move," says former Del Monte worker Luzvininea Retielo.
"It's a small consolation for these people that have worked hard, especially since most of them are immigrants from the Philippines and don't have the means to make ends meet," says (D) Rep. Michael Magaoay.
Representative Magaoay authored the bill. He says the money will be available starting July 1st. The state will spread the money over 2 fiscal years - $600,000 this year, then $600,000 next year.
Workers must apply for the money through the State Department of Housing. Their union will help guide them through the process.