HONOLULU — Catholic Charities Hawai‘i and the state announced the launch of a new rent-relief program that will begin accepting applications next week.
The Rent Assistance and Mediation Program will provide assistance for Hawai‘i renters who have experienced a reduction in income because of unemployment or a reduction in work hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of eviction.
The $6 million program, administered by Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, intends to help tenants avoid eviction by providing rental payments for unpaid rent and mediation services. Rental payments will be considered from Jan. 1, 2021, with a statewide cap of $1,500 per household per month. A maximum of up to two months total of past due and ongoing assistance can be provided.
The program is funded by a portion of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection settlement monies from Honda Motor Co.
“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,” said Catholic Charities Hawai‘i CEO and President Rob Van Tassell.
“With the conclusion of the state’s Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program, this available funding will be a bridge to other potential rent-relief programs involving COVID-19-related federal funding.”
There will be three ways to apply for the program: online, downloading an electronic form from the Catholic Charities Hawai‘i website, or requesting an application be mailed.
Full-time Hawai‘i residents with valid and current lease agreements of six months or longer for their primary residence in Hawai‘i must demonstrate a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have a gross household annual income that does not exceed 100% of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development area median income for 2020.
Available funds are estimated to cover approximately 2,000 applications. Demand is anticipated to reach capacity within a week.
“Please take the time to carefully fill out the forms and provide the correct information required,” Van Tassell said.
“Doing so will shorten the time to verify and process your applications. Also, please let your landlord know that you are applying for rental assistance and have their contact information readily available, especially if you are applying online, including his or her name, mailing address, email address, phone number.”
Applicants who have already received funding from the state’s recent Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program must re-apply for RAMP funding. Since this is a different program funding source from the state’s RRHAP, applications from that program will not carry over.
w Requests for applications can be mailed, faxed and emailed upon request from now to Wednesday, Jan. 13;
w Application requests outside of this timeframe will not be considered;
w Call/mail/fax the local Catholic Charities Hawai‘i office found on the second page of the packet, or email COVID19help@catholiccharitieshawaii.org, to request an application;
w Visit catholiccharitieshawaii.org to download an electronic copy or wait for the Online Application link to activate on Monday, Jan. 11, between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.