LIHU‘E — A new loan program from the county will assist Kaua‘i residents while they wait for unemployment benefits.
Thursday, Mayor Derek Kawakami announced the Kaua‘i County Loan Program, directed at those in the asset-limited, income-constrained, employed (ALICE) community who are currently unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In particular, (this program) fits the gap group for those who are unable to normally establish credit at a banking institution, or have not been able to take advantage of oversubscribed grants,” Kawakami said.
Residents who are at least 18 and can demonstrate loss of income may apply for up to $5,000 at a 0% fixed rate, with no fees. Both the interest and fees are being subsidized by the Hawai‘i Community Foundation.
The program is supported through the county, HCF, Hawaiian Community Assets and Hawai‘i Community Finance.
The program is funded by $200,000 in funds available for loans from the county’s interest buy-out and administered by Hawai‘i Community Finance. Other costs for the program will be covered by a grant from the Kaua‘i Strong Fund at the HCF. The program will begin accepting online applications on Monday.
The county continues to work to analyze the needs of the community, Kawakami said.
“We are continuing to look at ways to support those who are in need,” Kawakami said. “We anticipate rolling out more support mechanisms in the coming days, focusing on assisting our residents with basic food, shelter and health needs.”
Part of assessing needs will begin next with the state Department of Health’s Kaua‘i District Health Office conducting a community assessment for public health emergency response.
The confidential survey, which will be conducted door-to-door by personnel wearing personal protective equipment or over the phone between Wednesday, April 22 to Friday, April 24, will ask households about knowledge, attitude, practices, and financial and mental-health impacts related to COVID-19. This data will be used by the county and DOH to help assess the needs of residents during the pandemic.
Also Thursday, Kawakami confirmed there were no new cases of COVID-19 on Kaua‘i. The total number of confirmed cases remains at 21, with 17 either recovered or transferred back home to the mainland. Of the four active cases on the island, 3 are in home isolation and 1 in isolation in the hospital. Only one case has been attributed to community spread.
Statewide, the total number of cases rose to 541, with 11 new cases reported Thursday, according to the DOH. The state reported nine deaths and 374 cases which have been released from isolation.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Kaua‘i County Loan Program can be found on kauai.gov/covid-19 or hawaiiancommunity.net on Monday.