County and nonprofits team up to make changes to emergency rental assistance program

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Seven local nonprofits are working with the county to make changes to the Hawai’i County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to provide a safety net for struggling local tenants financial.

The announcement comes as the moratoriums on rental evictions by the state of Hawaii and the federal government have ended.

“It is important for our community to know that we are there for them and that we are doing everything we can to make sure that these funds end up in the hands of those who need them most,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “We ask all those who are going through difficult times to try to apply. A little help can go a long way in ensuring our local families keep the rooftops above their heads as we head into the holiday season.

ERAP is funded by Hawai’i County with federal funds and will provide grants to approximately 2,000 local renter households whose income is eligible and has written proof of financial hardship. Funding is limited to tenants who live on the Island of Hawai’i.

Households are limited to 15 months of total grant including aid from previous programs.

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Changes to the program will include the following:

  • Grants will be available for past due rents and utilities, three months rent in advance, security deposits, and temporary hotel or motel stays.
  • All Island of Hawaii renters with a median income below 80% (see right) who provide an unemployment letter or attest to financial hardship in writing will be eligible for financial assistance.
  • Grants will be available until June 30, 2022, pending availability of funds.
  • Temporary housing will be available in hotels and motels for local tenants who have been evicted or are currently homeless.
  • Additional navigators will be hired and trained to help local tenants find affordable housing.
  • Rental deposit funds of up to one month of additional rent will be made available to landlords and property management companies renting to low-income Island of Hawaii tenants supported by Housing Navigators.
  • Fees for rental inquiries, moving expenses, damage to hotel and motel stays beyond normal wear and tear, and legal services will be funded for qualified low income tenants.
  • Affordable financial advice and loans for low-income tenants will be offered through the Financial Empowerment and Opportunity Centers.
  • Increased legal services and landlord-tenant mediation will be available to help more local tenants in need.
  • Community navigators will be hired and trained to travel to hard-to-reach communities to promote financial assistance available to troubled tenant households.
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The Mayor and ERAP’s nonprofit partners encourage community groups, faith-based organizations, employers, government agencies, utility companies, landlords, service providers and policy makers to share the announcement island-wide.

To be eligible for subsidies for past due rents or utilities, three months rent in advance, security deposits, or temporary hotel or motel stays, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a renter of the island of Hawai’i
  • At least 18 years old
  • Proof of financial hardship (provide unemployment / PUA approval letter or request an attestation form from nonprofit claimants to confirm financial hardship in writing)
  • 2020 or current annual gross household income equal to or less than 80% of the region’s median income for the number of members of their household. Consult the table above to determine if your household income qualifies.
    The PIU gives priority to households equal to or less than 50% of the median income of the region whose members have been unemployed for 90 days before the date of application.

Applicants will need to submit the following documents with their application to be considered for rent or utility assistance:

  • Proof of residence and age
  • Copy of photo ID
  • Income documents for ALL household members (provide all that apply)
  • All Pages and Planned for 2020 Federal Tax Form OR
  • 30 day most recent pay stubs
  • Most recent business bank statements for one month (if self-employed)
  • Letter of unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance in the event of a pandemic (PUA)
  • Public interest statements
  • Other proof of income (letter of support for children / alimony, declaration of pension / retirement) Accommodation
  • Copy of the completed, current and signed lease / rental agreement
  • Applicants must also provide proof of difficulty with one of the following documents:
  • Unemployment Approval Letter or PUA
  • Written certificate (request from the association)
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In addition, for housing assistance needs, one of the following must also be provided:

  • Notice of late rent with the amount owed
  • Eviction notice with amount owed
  • Outstanding utility notice

For more information or to apply, visit www.HawaiCountyERAP.org. Apply directly to one of the non-profit organizations below:


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