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County rental assistance program application to open in May

LIHU‘E — Monetary assistance for rent and utilities will soon be available through the county for qualified households impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

Applications for the county’s 2021 Rental and Utility Assistance Program will open the first week of May, the county announced Tuesday. An exact date for the application’s launch is forthcoming.

Eligible applicants must be Kaua‘i County residents at least 18 years old who experienced income loss due to the pandemic. Applicants must have an annual gross household income at or below 80% of the area median income, $54,400 for a single person, or $77,680 for a family of four, per the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Income Limits Documentation System for 2020.

Households with an income of less than 50% AMI or where one or more household member is unemployed and has been unemployed for 90 days will be prioritized, according to a press release.

Rental assistance can cover up to $2,000 per month and $400 per month for qualifying utilities, and is limited to 12 months of total grant assistance. Both tenant and landlord information is required to complete and qualify for the program.

The program is funded by $22 million in federal funds. In January, County Housing Agency Director Adam Roversi said this program has the ability to wipe out missed rental payments on the island which, on the high end, the county is estimating to be around $21 million.

The Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union was awarded the contract to administer the program by the county. In 2020, the credit union administered and deployed 25% of the state’s Rent and Relief Housing Assistance Program.

“Preserving housing stability on Kaua‘i as we recover from the COVID crisis is paramount,” KGEFCU CEO Monica Belz said in the press release. “We are humbled by the needs of local families throughout Kaua‘i, and we are working tirelessly with the county to develop and deploy this program to our community as soon as possible.”

A webinar and question-and-answer session on the program is Wednesday, April 21, at 5 p.m. Registration for the webinar is available at bit.ly/2RaNnXh.

Applications will be available at kauairenthelp.com. Interested households can email rent@kgefcu.org for more information.

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