(BIVN) – Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair William Ailā today spoke at a news conference held by Governor David Ige, where he announced the launch of a new beneficiary rental relief program, in partnership with Aloha United Way.
A new program to provide rental relief for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) Applicant Waiting List beneficiaries will launch on May 11, 2020, in partnership with Aloha United Way (AUW). The program’s implementation was approved by the Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) at its April meeting.
DHHL’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide eligible beneficiaries with rental assistance using $7 million in Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) funds. These funds were made available in accordance with the Native Hawaiian Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) and other federal laws, including Public Law 115-141 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. The Consolidated Appropriations Act allows NHHBG funds to be used to provide rental assistance to Native Hawaiian families both on and off Hawaiian Home Lands.
“During this COVID-19 crisis, the Department has been working on programs to support our beneficiaries,” said HHC Chairman William J. Ailā, Jr. “We started by implementing mortgage relief programs for existing homesteaders and now we are pleased to launch this initiative with AUW to help applicants on our Waiting List. The Department is still on schedule to prepare 1,300 lots statewide over the next five years, and we hope this rental relief will keep applicant families on track to assume those lots once they are ready.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented financial ripple effect in our community,” said Norm Baker, interim AUW President and CEO. “Through data we understand the native Hawaiian population is one of our most vulnerable. The funds from the DHHL rental relief program administered by AUW will prevent native Hawaiian families from slipping into homelessness. We estimate more than 2,500 households will be saved from eviction.”
Eligible native Hawaiians on DHHL’s Applicant Waiting List who have experienced a loss of income or job as a result of COVID-19 may receive assistance for the payment of their security deposit and/or rent for up to six months.
DHHL provided the following criteria for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program:
- Must be native Hawaiian as defined by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and on DHHL’s Waiting List as of Dec. 31, 2018. No new applications will be considered.
- Must have experienced a reduction of income or loss of income/job as a result of COVID-19.
- Must have a total household annual income that does not exceed 80 percent area median income, as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Must be receiving assistance for the individual’s primary residence located in the State of Hawaiʻi. The maximum monthly rent for a household to pay may not exceed 30 percent of the family’s monthly adjusted income and the maximum fair market rent that will be considered, as established by HUD’s fair market guidelines.
To apply for DHHL’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, call AUW at 2-1-1.