Native Hawaiian agency pushes for broad moratorium on rental evictions

Updated: Apr. 8, 2020 at 7:28 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Office of Hawaiian Affairs says Native Hawaiians are at greater health and financial risk due to the pandemic and it’s urging Gov. Ige to issue a broad moratorium on rental evictions.

It’s an unseen threat — a pandemic and turbulent financial waters in the middle of our paradise.

Kenane Madali stand up paddles to keep fit, but after getting laid off from his construction job, he's late on April rent.

"I get worried. I don't know how I'm going to pay my rent," he said.

The coronavirus relief law or CARES Act impacts federally backed mortgages and allows borrowers to ask for a reprieve up to 12 months while Hawaii’s Chief Justice issued a court order suspending all civil hearings until April 30.

OHA says there are loopholes in the state’s emergency actions and most evictions don’t end up in court so it’s asking for a broad moratorium on residential evictions. At this point, the agency says it’s not aware of anyone getting evicted after losing their job due to the COVID-19 crisis, but says more needs to be done to prevent that from happening.

“We are seeing economic impacts because of COVID-19 that we’ve never seen in many of our lifetimes and it’s critical that our families be able to stay home and stay safe,” said OHA policy manager Jocelyn Doane.

Governor Ige says the state will see what programs need to be extended and says anyone having problems with their landlord should contact the State Office of Consumer Protection.

"Evictions and foreclosures have been shut down by the courts through the end of April. We continue to monitor the situation and certainly would be looking at what further action is required as we approach April 30," he said in response to OHA's request.

Madali was one of 2,000 people who applied for rental assistance through the Hoala Assistance Program and he’s hoping aid will come through to keep him afloat.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.