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DHHL, Aloha United Way launch beneficiary rental relief program

By Staff | May 21, 2020

A new program to provide rental relief for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) Applicant Waiting List beneficiaries launched on May 11 in partnership with Aloha United Way (AUW).

The program’s implementation was approved by the Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) at its April meeting.

DHHL’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide eligible beneficiaries with rental assistance using $7 million in Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) funds.

These funds were made available in accordance with the Native Hawaiian Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) and other federal laws, including Public Law 115-141 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act allows NHHBG funds to be used to provide rental assistance to Native Hawaiian families both on and off Hawaiian Home Lands.

“During this COVID-19 crisis, the department has been working on programs to support our beneficiaries,” said HHC Chairman William J. Aila Jr.

“We started by implementing mortgage relief programs for existing homesteaders, and now we are pleased to launch this initiative with AUW to help applicants on our waiting list.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented financial ripple effect in our community,” said Norm Baker, interim AUW President and CEO.

“Through data, we understand the Native Hawaiian population is one of our most vulnerable. The funds from the DHHL rental relief program administered by AUW will prevent Native Hawaiian families from slipping into homelessness. We estimate more than 2,500 households will be saved from eviction.”

Eligible Native Hawaiians on DHHL’s Applicant Waiting List who have experienced a loss of income or job as a result of COVID-19 may receive assistance for the payment of their security deposit and/or rent for up to six months.

To apply for DHHL’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, call AUW at 2-1-1.

Learn the latest about COVID-19 impacts on DHHL activities by visiting dhhl.hawaii.gov/covid-19.