More than half of Honolulu’s virus recovery funds allocated

HONOLULU — Officials have said nearly 60% of Honolulu’s federal coronavirus recovery funds have been allocated for use, leaving $165.4 million pending.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday that Honolulu has spent about $72 million of its available $387 million.

Honolulu received the funds April 23 as part of the state’s $1.25 billion allocation from a $150 billion relief fund.

Congress requires payments from the national virus relief fund to be used to cover expenses incurred from March 1 to Dec. 30.

Details of Honolulu’s spending are available at a state online dashboard launched last week to provide the public with an updated view of how the federal funds are used.

The dashboard information indicates small business assistance represents about 66% of the federal funds spent and distributed in Oahu to date.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the city must “quickly and effectively” spend the federal funds to help residents affected by the pandemic.

Honolulu Council member Tommy Waters, chairman of the city’s Committee on Economic Assistance and Revitalization, said he was pleased the city has distributed money to small businesses, but wants to more funds dedicated to recovery.

Waters also is concerned the city is not spending the money quickly enough to meet the December deadline, which he said could lead to lost opportunities.

Joshua Stanbro, the city’s chief resilience officer, told the city Committee on Economic Assistance and Revitalization that records from the Hawaii Data Collaborative show Honolulu has spent more of its federal recovery funding than the neighbor island counties and the state.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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