RRHAP program the most housing support per capita

HONOLULU — Some 13,709 Hawai‘i households were assisted by the state’s Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program (RRHAP), Aloha United Way, Catholic Charities Hawai‘i and additional partners.

The program, managed by the state Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation, has been cited as a success story by local policy experts.

“Recent analysis by the Hawai‘i Budget & Policy Center finds that this state program — RRHAP — got out more housing assistance to help renters per capita than any other state effort across the country,” said James Koshiba, founder of Hui Aloha and a former chair of the state House Subcommittee on COVID-19 & Housing.

“To get $60 million out the door in just under three months to Hawai‘i households plus expend additional funds for partners, systems, and administrative staffing is remarkable. The success of the program was due to heroic effort and sacrifices by AUW, CCH, and HHFDC.”

In early September, RRHAP was quickly launched to provide much-needed financial assistance for renters and homeowners severely impacted by COVID-19.

Aloha United Way has been responsible for distributing nearly $21 million to Hawai‘i renters and homeowners through partnerships with over a dozen nonprofit agencies. Catholic Charities Hawai‘i was able to distribute over $38 million to renters and homeowners through the program.

The program received more than 18,300 applications in its first five weeks of operation (September/October), and the program concluded on Dec. 31.

Some statistics:

• $59,733,688 in housing assistance funding was approved for 13,709 households;

• 4,824 applications were denied due to ineligibility;

• $59,003,328 has been disbursed to 13,690 qualified households (as of Jan. 13).

Sixty-eight percent of households receiving financial assistance through RRHAP were at 50% area median income or lower. Fifteen percent of applicants received assistance having reported no income.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, many of Hawai‘i’s families, including those from moderate-income households that never needed housing financial assistance before, found themselves struggling to make ends meet,” said Aloha United Way President and CEO, John Fink. “With our 101 year history of service to our local community, AUW has been honored to be part of this effort to assist people during these extremely unusual and challenging times.”

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