State eviction moratorium extended through October

HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige said he plans to extend of the state’s moratorium on evictions through the end of October.

Ige made the announcement during Thursday’s Community Connection Facebook Live in discussion about the state’s new rental-assistance program. Ige was joined by Denise Iseri-Matsubara, executive director of the state Housing, Finance and Development Corporation.

Ige has continued the moratorium since February through the end of September.

Last week, the state launched the Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program, which offered $100 million in rental and mortgage support to unemployed or underemployed residents using federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money.

The program is a joint effort between the state, Aloha United Way and Catholic Charities of Hawai‘i, and provides eligible renters with up to $1,500 per month on Kaua‘i, Maui and Hawai‘i Island, and up to $2,000 per month on O‘ahu.

The first phase, amounting to $50 million, has already received over 8,000 applications and over 100,000 hits to the HIHousingHelp website, Iseri-Matsubara reported. The program is currently set up to provide assistance for rent payments between Aug. 1 and Dec. 28.

“The phones have been ringing off the hook,” Iseri-Matsubara said. Catholic Charities has been manually accepting applications and has begun to process payments already.

The second phase of the program relates to mortgage support from March 1 to the end of July. Iseri-Matsubara said this phase should open before the end of September with the remaining $50 million.

“We’ve heard from many that being able to provide rent and mortgage support is so important,” Ige said.

To be eligible, tenants must be full-time Hawai‘i residents who are at or below their county’s area median income. On Kaua‘i, for a single person, that’s up to $68,000, and for a family of four it’s $97,100, as defined by federal Department of Housing and Urban Development 2020 income limits.

Tenants need to apply, and payments will be made directly to landlords.

Households that receive federal or state rent subsidies are not eligible.

Residents can apply for state and county assistance, Ige said, and he recommended that applicants disclose assistance streams in applications, and to ensure that funds do not exceed rental rates.

“If you provide that information, we can make that assessment,” Ige said.

In July, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that one in five renters were behind on rent nationally. The burden on Black and brown renters with children, the bureau reported, was higher, at one in four renters.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), along with 30 other senators, called on President Donald Trump to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to enact legislation that provides the emergency assistance and protections renters need to stay in their homes.

“Millions of children and youth are at risk of being evicted from their homes due to the Trump administration’s refusal to support critical rental-assistance and relief measures to protect their health and well-being during this pandemic,” a press release said.

In the letter to Trump, senators wrote that millions of households are now choosing between paying rent and other necessities, like food and medicine.

“Given recent spikes in COVID-19 caseloads and an economic crisis that continues to deepen, we urge you to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to enact legislation that provides the emergency assistance renters need to stay in their homes,” the senators wrote on Thursday.

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

3 Comments
  1. Colin McCleod September 18, 2020 8:08 am Reply

    “‘Given recent spikes in COVID-19 caseloads and an economic crisis that continues to deepen, we urge you to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to enact legislation that provides the emergency assistance renters need to stay in their homes,’ the senators wrote on Thursday.”
    So…these senators who urged the states to literally kill their economies and punish virtually all working people, now want to blame Trump? Interesting, especially with an election coming up.
    And once again the double digit IQ political hacks demonstrate their inability to read the data correctly. That is, they are fixated on the “cases” , all the while ignoring the very positive, plummeting mortality rates. They also ignore the fact that more than 80% of all deaths are in the 75 years and older population. So the question remains…why punish those in the very low risk population?
    Once again we see that political decisions are laced with ignorance and irrationality.
    Colin McCleod


  2. Debra Kekaualua September 18, 2020 2:45 pm Reply

    So, Evictions only apply to Kanaka? In 07/2020 , Punohu his wife and five children were ‘run outa their Kekaha house by a realestate agent, aka banker Julie Black and her family removing the entire house and yard contents via Roll-off business. There was gate chains breached by them, and Punohu twice arrested for trespassing, as he scurried to remove his family’s items, EVERYthing, beds, food, clothes, refer stove, surfing equipment, bodyboards, fins, above-ground swimming pool ], trikes, bikes, skateboards, kayak blades, water protection gear for the babies were loaded onto the roll-off and taken to kekaha landfill. jWhy were KPD AND sheriff standing by during this “Eviction Moratorium” What is really going on here? Why were realtor able to continue daily advances on the property, opening up releasing chickens, pigs, goat cages and pushing her agenda during this crisis time? “I’m asking for a friend”


  3. Maria Cynthia Tanega October 16, 2020 7:34 pm Reply

    I have a tenant in my apartment building who never paid rent for August, Sept and October 2020 claiming she already applied for rent assistance with Aloha United Way so I just have to wait. She said she does not like to pay double. When she expressed in her text last Aug 31 that she felt unsafe staying in the unit,and that she had been sleeping at her son’s grandpa’s place. I wrote her a letter to return back the unit to me within sixty days from Sept 2 (just in time when the moratorium will be over). I advised her to leave the place as soon as she can find a safe place to stay so she will be more comfortable. Then she reported me to the Legal Aid Bureau that I sent her an eviction letter because she did not pay rent. I have a word with this agency already.
    I requested her to at least pay some amount just to cover her portion of water and sewer bill ( I pay at least $700 per month for two units’ water and sewer bill). She was already given a 25% discount for her 2 bedroom one bathroom one parking unit and never had any rent increase for more than six years. She only pays $1,000 per month instead of 1350 .
    Frankly, I rather have my apartment building empty than subsidize the water and sewer bills for non-paying tenants. The rent moratorium is so unfair to landlords of apartment buildings.
    Can someone pay her water and sewer portion for August September and October? I am already using my emergency savings to subsidize this tenants’ share of the bill. I cannot afford it for long.


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