$500K distributed through Kaua‘i rental, utility assistance program

LIHU‘E — At the end of week two of Kaua‘i’s 2021 Coronavirus Rental and Utility Assistance (CRUA) Program, officials reported that 800 households have applied, and $520,000 in rental assistance has been deployed.

Approximately 100 households were approved for rental assistance, and payments to landlords and property managers are underway. Utility assistance in the amount of $18,000 began this past week, and payments are being made directly to utility companies on behalf of account holders.

Currently, the request for utility assistance is approximately $300,000, with arrears in electric bills comprising the largest area of need. KGEFCU works directly with Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, Kaua‘i Department of Water, Hawai‘i Gas, and the Department of Wastewater Management to address arrears.

Jason Kagimoto, the Wastewater Management Division Chief, stated: “We are very grateful that KGEFCU is administering this program. Wastewater is an essential service, and the pandemic has brought much uncertainty for our revenue since our customers largely fund us. This program addresses a big need for our customers and benefits the community as a whole.”

“The ongoing success of the CRUA program lies in the collaboration and cooperation of our community partners. Account service managers at all the utility companies have been instrumental in assisting their clients with our program. Their dedication and commitment to helping their customers in this unprecedented time of need is heartfelt and is apparent, and applicants often get emotional knowing relief is on the way.” said Bonnie Howard, CRUA Program Manager at KGEFCU.

“We appreciate the public’s patience as we process these applications, field countless phone calls, answer emails and reach out to applicants,” said KGEFCU Community Development Officer Dana Hazelton. “We hear your need for help, and we have dedicated staff to assist both tenants and landlords with applications. Providing current and correct landlord contact information is necessary to process your application promptly,” added Hazelton.

Administered by KGEFCU in partnership with the County of Kaua‘i, Kupa‘a Kaua‘i, and the Kaua‘i County Housing Agency, the Coronavirus Rental and Utility Assistance program provides relief solely to Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau residents for assistance in the payment of rent and utility arrears and up to three months of future rent, covering 12 months from March 2020 until December 2021, or until funds are exhausted.

The 2021 CRUA program is being deployed in collaboration with Kaua‘i’s public library system, with the library offering free computer access to the community to access the CRUA online application. KGEFCU is grateful to all the librarians on the front lines assisting applicants with the CRUA program.

Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union thanks Kaua‘i County Housing Agency for coordinating volunteers who are donating their time to work with the public and Kaua‘i’s affordable housing property managers to assist tenants with the required documentation. “We understand this can be a tremendous amount of additional work on their behalf,” said Community Development Officer Dana Hazelton, “and we recognize and appreciate their time and energy in assisting their tenants.”

“We want to assure the community that there is still ample funding available, and we will be working through the application queue in a timely manner. We are here to help you, so please apply,” Hazelton said.

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