Catholic Charities Hawaii to launch $6M rent relief program

HONOLULU — Catholic Charities Hawaii announced the launch of a rent relief program for people affected by the pandemic, which will be conducted with state assistance.

The Rent Assistance and Mediation Program administered by the social service organization will begin accepting applications next week, KITV-TV reported Wednesday.

The $6 million program is expected to provide assistance to renters who are at risk of eviction after experiencing reduced income, decreased work hours or unemployment because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will attempt to help tenants avoid eviction by providing payments for unpaid rent and mediation services.

Payments will have a cap of $1,500 per household per month. The organization expects to offer a maximum of up to two months of past due and ongoing rental assistance.

Catholic Charities Hawaii estimates the available funds will cover about 2,000 applications.

The program is funded by a portion of settlement payments from Honda Motor Co. to the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection.

Program applications can be made online, by downloading an electronic form or by requesting a mailed application.

“In dealing with the continual economic fallout from COVID-19, this emergency rental assistance program is meant to keep tenants in their homes and safely sheltered, while ensuring landlords are properly compensated,” Catholic Charities Hawaii CEO and President Rob Van Tassell said.

For most people, the new 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.

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