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Local Nonprofits Partner With County to Launch Emergency Rental Assistance Program

April 1, 2021, 1:36 PM HST
* Updated April 1, 4:42 PM
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Seven local nonprofit organizations joined to the county to launch the Hawaiʻi County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Program applications will be available starting Monday, April 12th, at 8 a.m.

ERAP nonprofit partners are encouraging Hawaiʻi Island residents who are at least 18 years old and lost income due to COVID-19 to prepare ahead to apply when applications open.

“We are honored to be able to provide relief to our local families by alleviating some of the financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth. “With the help of local nonprofit organizations, we will keep the roofs over the heads of 3,400 households, and that, to me, is something pretty special. Through continued partnerships and the community’s support, we can and will thrive through this pandemic – together.”

ERAP is funded by the county through federal funding and will provide rent and utility grants to an estimated 3,400 households that income qualify and can prove hardship due to COVID-19 for each month they receive assistance from March 2020 to December 2021. Funding will be limited to households’ primary residence on Hawaiʻi Island. Households will be limited to 12 months of total grant assistance.

The Hawaiʻi County ERAP will be led by local nonprofit community development financial institution, Hawaiʻi Community Lending. Six Hawaiʻi Island-based nonprofit partners will process applications and payments will be made directly to landlords, property managers, or utility providers. Approved applicants will also have access to financial counseling and other housing stability services.

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ERAP nonprofit partners include:

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·HOPE Services Hawaiʻi (HOPE)
·Hawaiʻi First Federal Credit Union (HFFCU)
·Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP)
·Habitat for Humanity Hawaiʻi Island (HFHHI)
·The Salvation Army (TSA)
·Hawaiʻi County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC)

Households who have been impacted, directly or indirectly, by COVID-19 and are past due on their rent and/or utilities should apply through one of the nonprofit partners. Persons without internet access or a computer are encouraged to call one of the ERAP nonprofit partners to request a paper application or complete an application over the phone. See above for more information on how to apply.

To qualify for rent or utility assistance grants starting April 12, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a Hawai’i Island resident
  • At least 18 years old
  • Experience financial hardship due to COVID-19, and 2020 or current annual gross household income at or below 80% of area median income for the number of members in their household. 
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ERAP will give priority households at or below 50% of area median income with household members who have been unemployed for 90 days preceding the date of the application. An estimated 75% of all funding will go to households are this income level.

Applicants will be required to submit various documents with their applications starting April 12 to be considered for rent or utility assistance, including proof of residency.

For  more information or to apply, contact one of the ERAP nonprofit partners listed above.

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