Hawaii renters worried about being unable to make their rent payments can breathe a sigh of relief.
Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday afternoon that the state will extend its moratorium preventing evictions of residents unable to pay rent another month through the end of September.
“I will be issuing the 12th supplemental emergency proclamation in the next day or so, and that supplemental proclamation will extend the moratorium on evictions,” Ige said. “…We are trying to help those who cannot make payments to support them in staying in the accommodations they have.”
The moratorium, first ordered on April 17, had been extended multiple times, with the latest order set to expire Aug. 31. Ige mentioned how the state has promoted programs in the interim to help keep renters and landlords afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We continue to work with the landlords as well as the financial institutions, in some instances they are mortgage evictions, so that we can support those who are behind in their rent payments and mortgage payments in a way that can avoid evictions,” Ige added.
On the Big Island, those programs include the Community Development Block Grant, which provides a one-time payment of up to $2,000 for those who have lost income due to COVID.
“We have done one round already of $100,000 with Hawaii Community Foundation. That was, I believe, 130 families,” said CEO of HOPE Services Hawaii Brandee Menino.
Starting at 8 a.m. Aug. 24, Hawaii County is launching the Hawaii County Rent and Mortgage Assistance Program (RMAP) with six local nonprofits: HOPE Services Hawaii, Hawaiian Community Assets/Hawaii Community Lending, Hawaii First Federal Credit Union, Neighborhood Place of Puna, Hawaii Island Home for Recovery and Habitat for Humanity Hawaii Island.
The program uses funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and provides monthly rent or mortgage payments up to $1,000 through December. Those looking to apply for rent or mortgage assistance grants through RMAP can contact any of the six organizations.
Ige also recognized the broadness of the problem regarding impending evictions. He stressed that while his desire is to keep renters and families in their homes as long as possible, extending the moratorium on evictions isn’t a permanent solution.
“This is a national problem, and we are seeing this all across the country,” said Ige. “I’m proud of the fact that our mayors and the state legislature has committed to rent relief and support. I think we all recognize that we want to keep people in their places of residence as long as we can. … We are looking at different ways we can require before taking eviction actions that the landlords be utilizing: the support programs that the counties and state are putting together to avoid evictions.”