$5M in Rental, Utilities Assistance for Native Hawaiians
CNHA News Release
In a continued partnership with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is expanding the Native Hawaiian Rental and Utilities Relief Program to include all eligible Native Hawaiians living in Hawaii. Prior to this program, only beneficiaries on the DHHL Waiting List who are at least 50 percent Hawaiian, were eligible for assistance using the DHHL funding.
This new allotment of funds was made possible through the American Rescue Plan of 2021 and is part of the DHHL COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This round of funding is available to all Native Hawaiians whether or not they are on the DHHL Waiting List.
“Even as COVID-19 numbers subside here in Hawaii, many Native Hawaiian families continue to struggle to rebound from the effects of the pandemic,” said Kuhio Lewis, President and CEO of CNHA. “When people are struggling, it is our job to help get them through. This new funding will allow us to reach more people.”
The $5 million is expected to help 800 households pay rent and utilities for up to 12 months. Qualifying applicants can apply for help to catch up on back payments or to make payments moving forward. Applications open on June 25 at 6 p.m. and will remain open until the pool of resources is depleted.
“The Department expresses its deepest appreciation to our Congressional delegation for their commitment in securing funding to aid those continuing to struggle through the ripple effects of the pandemic,” said Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair William J. Aila, Jr. “These federal funds are critical in stabilizing the housing needs of Hawaiian families and will assist in our community’s economic recovery from the pandemic.”
To qualify for the new program, applicants must:
· Be native Hawaiian and living in the State of Hawaii
· Rent housing in the State of Hawaii
· Be 18 years or older
· Prove income loss due to unemployment or loss of work for more than 90 days, a reduction in household income, or homelessness/housing instability
· Meet income qualification—less than 80 percent Area Median Income (AMI). Amount differs by county
Applicants will be required to provide documentation of their residency along with proof of hardship and income statements. Payments will be made directly to vendors owed money. Applicants who are already receiving assistance are not eligible.
More information and application forms can be found at hawaiiancouncil.org/kokua.