LIHU‘E — Friday, Mayor Derek Kawakami announced the success of the Kaua‘i County Emergency Loan Program in reaching 184 island residents with 0% interest loans in 10 days.
The program was launched last week by Kawakami in partnership with Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Hawai‘i Pacific Health, and community development nonprofits, Hawaiian Community Assets and Hawai‘i Community Lending.
Under the program, HCL provided 0% interest emergency loans of up to $5,000 to 72 Kaua‘i households who lost income due to COVID-19, while HCA served every borrower with financial counseling. The organizations processed 284 loan applications and had enough funds to approve 25% of all requests.
“As we work toward recovery, what is clear is the immense economic hurt that our island is coming to grips with,” said Kawakami. “Mahalo to Priscilla (Chan) and Mark (Zuckerberg), HCF, HPH, Hawaiian Community Assets and Hawai‘i Community Lending for this unique collaboration. We know this type of aid is only the start of what will be needed islandwide.”
A $100,000 grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Kaua‘i Community Fund at HCF helped HCA and HCL leverage public and private capital to push through a total of $275,000 in loan approvals to borrowers before the program officially closed on April 29.
“(HCA and HCL) mahalo the mayor for his leadership and all the partners who came together to bring resources to Kaua‘i’s people who are in need,” said HCA and HCL Executive Director Lahela Williams.
“The program demonstrates the critical role community-development financial institutions like HCL must play in COVID emergency response and recovery. We look forward to carrying the Kaua‘i program model to other counties so we can get immediate relief to our friends, family and neighbors who’ve lost income.”
According to Williams, the Kaua‘i emergency loans went to workers and entrepreneurs who were living on the edge between poverty or ALICE (asset-limited, income-constrained, employed). The program helped create a backstop so Garden Isle residents do not fall into poverty from ALICE, or further into poverty.
In all, 184 Kaua‘i residents were supported, and about $275,000 in capital deployed. Among this group, 29% were self-employed borrowers, 71% were workers, 15% were for households with kupuna, 19% were homeowners and 61% were renters.
Applicants who remain in the program pipeline have been assessed and referred to emergency grant programs at Catholic Charities and Aloha United Way, HCL’s low-interest emergency loan program or personal loans at local credit unions and banks.
For more information about the emergency grant and loan options available to Kaua‘i residents, visit www.kauai.gov/COVID-19.