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Wednesday, August 11, 2021
COVID Cash: Honolulu Rent and Utility Program Reopens
By News Release @ 11:53 PM :: 1036 Views :: Honolulu County, Small Business, COVID-19

City’s Rental and Utility Relief Program will reopen on Thursday, August 12, 2021, at noon

Higher income limits mean more Oʻahu renters can qualify

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, August 11, 2021

HONOLULU – The City and County of Honolulu’s Rental Utility Relief Program will accept 5,000 new applications from renters who are struggling financially from the COVID-19 pandemic starting Thursday, August 12, 2021, at noon at oneoahu.org/renthelp.

“The Rental and Utility Relief Program is a major part of the City’s outreach to help our neighbors stay in their homes and make landlords whole,” said Amy Asselbaye, executive director of the Office of Economic Revitalization. “We urge Oʻahu renters who are struggling from the pandemic to visit oneoahu.org/renthelp, see if they qualify, and get ready to apply.”

“We know landlords are struggling too. The program supports them by making direct payments to approved landlords of up to 12 months of unpaid rent or future rent. We greatly appreciate our partnerships with Catholic Charities Hawaiʻi and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement in keeping families housed, as well as the support of the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness, The Mediation Center of the Pacific, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, and community groups such as the Koʻolau Housing Hui.”

The City is drawing down the next allotment of federal rent and utility funding to expedite payments for the remaining approved applications. The City’s community partners will start processing new applications from this round once these payments have been made.

Overall, the program has approved more than 6,000 households for help and distributed about $50 million to landlords and utility companies since starting in April.

Households making at or below 80% of Oʻahu’s median income can apply. That is up to $100,700 a year for a household of four.

In addition, to qualify a household must demonstrate it is struggling financially because of the pandemic and have at least one member at risk of losing housing. Or, a household can qualify if at least one member has been unemployed for 90 days when applying.

To get ready to apply:
  • Gather needed documents. There’s a complete list of required documents in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) at org/renthelp.
  • New applications only. Those who have already applied should not apply again.
  • Only one person per household should apply.
  • Don’t apply for mortgage help.
For households that qualify, the program will pay:
  • Up to $2,500 a month for unpaid rent and electric, sewer and water, or gas bills.
  • Up to $2,000 a month for rent payments.
  • Up to $500 a month for electric, water and sewer, and gas bills.
  • Bills going back to March 13, 2020, or future bills.
  • Total payments can cover up to 12 months.

Payments are made directly to a landlord or utility.

People with questions should visit oneoahu.org/renthelp and review the FAQ. If the FAQ doesn’t answer their questions, people can call (808) 768-CITY (2489). The City’s call center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.

―PAU―

SA Kokua Line: Can I qualify for Honolulu’s rental aid if I’ve already gone back to work?

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