Following overwhelming demand, city to reopen rental and utility relief program

Following overwhelming demand, city to reopen rental and utility relief program
File photo (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After an overwhelming demand, the city will be reopening its Rental and Utility Relief Program for Oahu residents who are suffering from financial hardships due to the pandemic.

Applications will be accepted starting on Monday at 2 p.m.

The city said this second round of rent and utility relief will be available for the first 4,000 applicants.

To be eligible, Oahu residents must be earning 50% of the annual median income or less. For a family of four, the 50% level is about $62,950 a year.

In order to qualify, a household must also demonstrate financial harm from the pandemic and have at least one member at risk of losing their housing.

A household can also qualify if a household member has been unemployed for at least 90 days at the time of application and is still unemployed at the time of application.

The program is funded with $114 million in federal COVID relief money.

For households that qualify, the program will pay:

  • Up to $2,500 a month for unpaid rent and electricity, sewer and water, or gas bills
  • Up to $2,000 for current or future rent payments
  • Up to $500 a month for current or future electricity, water and sewer, or gas bills
  • Bills going back to March 13, 2020, current bills or future bills
  • Total payments can be as many as 12 months

Payments will be made directly to a landlord or utility company. Mortgages are not eligible because of federal guidelines.

The city said future rounds of applications will open the first working Monday of each month, as long as the program has funding.

The third round of financial assistance is set to open on June 7.

Meanwhile, Kauai will be accepting applications for its Rental and Utility Assistance Program on May 10.

For more information or to apply for Oahu’s relief program, click here.

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