Emergency housing program maxed out

LIHU‘E– Five days after announcing a new $400,000 COVID-19 emergency assistance program, the County of Kaua‘i’s Housing Agency said on Tuesday, their emergency rental, mortgage, and utility assistance program has reached its current capacity of applicants and is no longer accepting new applicants.

“This program can provide payments of up to $1,500 per month for a maximum of three months to cover rent, mortgage, and utility payments for low- to moderate-income Kaua‘i residents who have suffered a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami.

According to a county representative, applicants who have already been received and those already on the waiting list are being processed as quickly as possible.

“If additional funds become available for this program, we will notify the community of the reopening of the program,” said county’s public information officer Alden Alayvilla.

The program was administered through nonprofit partners Family Life Center and Malama Pono Health Services.

Adam Roversi, county’s Housing Agency director said as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday Family Life Center has approved 20 households for assistance, has 70 applications in process, and a waitlist of 183 households.

Roversi said Malama Pono has not yet approved any payments but has 39 applications in process, and 225 on their waitlist. Both organizations closed to new applications effective yesterday.

“Given the number of applications and the waitlists, unless we are able to provide additional funding there will be no assistance beyond the first month for approved applicants,” said Roversi.

Roversi said following the publication of the rental assistance program on Thursday, June 18, both non-profit partners were flooded with calls. Anecdotally it was difficult to get through to them given the call volume.

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Stephanie Shinno, features and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

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