Hawaii

Hawaii emergency rental assistance

Hawaii Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) is a government-funded program that provides short-term rental assistance to

The Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program aids families that are unable to pay their rent or utilities due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A total of $200 million was awarded to the state of Hawaii. Direct allocations were made to the City and County of Honolulu and Hawaii County since they matched the criteria for direct allocations.

The counties are in charge of administering the program in order to get monies into the community faster, boost efficiency, and decrease the possibility of duplicate payments. (Links to each county are provided here.)

(The ERA program is made feasible by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was passed on December 27, 2020.)

Eligibility

Eligible renter households have incomes of no more than 80% of the area median income (AMI) and meet the following criteria.

Priority is given to households with earnings of no more than 50% of AMI, as well as those with one or more unemployed individuals for 90 days prior to application. Each county has collaborated with its service provider to develop a mechanism for prioritizing help. To learn more about each county’s program, click on the link provided below.

One or more members of the home have qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in household income, incurred considerable costs, or encountered severe financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, either directly or indirectly; and

One or more members of the household may be in danger of becoming homeless or experiencing housing insecurity. A past-due rental or utility notice, an eviction notice, unsafe or unhealthy housing circumstances (such as overcrowding), or any other proof of risk may be included.

Rental assistance supplied to an eligible family should not be duplicated with other federally supported rental assistance provided to the same household.

Expenses That Are Qualified

Assistance can be used to pay for the following items:

Rent arrears and upcoming rent payments

Delinquent utility and home energy payments, as well as prospective utility and home energy payments

Other housing-related qualified expenses

Payments

The assistance will be paid straight to the landlord or utility company.

How to Use

Honolulu City and County

The Rental and Utility Relief Program of the City and County of Honolulu opened for applications on April 5, 2021. For additional information, go to https://www.oneoahu.org/renthelp. (Although applications are currently being accepted, the program’s portal has occasionally stopped accepting new applications. However, interested tenants should still visit the website to sign up for a notification when the program reopens for applications.)

County of Hawaii

On April 12, 2021, the Hawaii County Emergency Rental Assistance Program began accepting applicants. The applications will be processed by six nonprofit partners on Hawaii Island. Payments will be paid to landlords, property managers, or utility providers directly. www.HawaiiCountyERAP.org has information on program qualifications and how to apply.

County of Kauai

The Kauai Government Employees Federal Credit Union, which administers the County of Kauai’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, began accepting applications on May 10, 2021. Families can apply online by emailing rent@kgefcu.org.

County of Maui

On May 10, 2021, the Maui County Emergency Rental Assistance Program was launched. More information about how to apply is available at:

Statewide resources are available.

Other resources that may be useful to renters throughout the state include:

Additional services for rent and mortgage aid are available statewide through the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.

Only Native Hawaiians are eligible for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ Emergency Rental Assistance Program:

The Emergency Broadband Benefit can assist qualified households with internet expenses and, in some situations, with the purchase of laptops, desktop computers, and tablet computers:

https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit

Resources on evictions

My landlord served me with an eviction notice. What am I supposed to do?

Respond to any mediation or eviction notices you receive. As quickly as possible, apply for rental assistance (see section above).

To learn more about your rights as a renter, call the State Landlord-Tenant Hotline (808-586-2634) or a legal services organization like the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (808-536-4302). Act 57, which makes significant modifications to the landlord-tenant code and incentivizes mediation, was passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.

Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, now is the time to learn about the new legislation:

Renters have greater time to seek assistance and reach agreements in order to prevent eviction.

Renters have the right to mediation.

Initially, the Courts can only hear Summary Possession cases involving tenants who owe four months or more in overdue rent.

What about the CDC Eviction Order issued by the federal government?

On August 26, 2021, the United States Supreme Court overturned the federal eviction order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on August 3, 2021. This means that there is no longer a government ban on evictions for nonpayment of rent. Please click here to learn more about the Supreme Court’s judgment. If you have any issues about landlord-tenant rights as a result of the Supreme Court decision, please contact the State Landlord-Tenant Hotline or a legal services organization such as the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.

How do I contact mediation services if I am being evicted?

Please see the following list of mediation centers in your area:

Oahu: Pacific Mediation Center: SEMP — Pacific Mediation Center (mediatehawaii.org)

Ku’ikahi Mediation Center at Landlord Tenant Eviction Mediation Program in East Hawaii – Ku’ikahi Mediation Center (hawaiimediation.org)

Rapid Response Landlord-Tenant Mediation – West Hawai’i Mediation Center is located in West Hawaii (whmediation.org)

Maui County: Maui Mediation Services can be found online at Maui Mediation Services.

Kauai Economic Opportunity, Inc. Mediation Program can be reached at (808) 245-4077 x229 or x237 or mediation@keoinc.org.

A flyer describing Hawaii’s eviction mediation program has been distributed by the Mediation Center of the Pacific. It is available here. (Flyer last updated on August 6, 2021)

ERA2 (Emergency Rental Assistance) program

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, which was passed on March 11, 2021, allocates an additional $152 million to Hawaii for rent and utility assistance. The counties will also be in charge of administering the ERA2 initiative.

This funding is still pending issuance by the United States Treasury.