Rental assistance program distributed nearly $60M in 2020

Nearly 14,000 Hawaii households were assisted by the state’s Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program, Aloha United Way, Catholic Charities Hawaii and other partners.

The program, managed by Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, has been cited as a success story by local policy experts, according to Aloha United Way.

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“Recent analysis by the Hawaii Budget &Policy Center finds that this statewide program got out more housing assistance to help renters per capita than any other state effort across the country,” said James Koshiba, founder of Hui Aloha, and a former chairperson of the state House Subcommittee on COVID-19 and Housing. “To get $60 million out the door in just under three months plus expend funds for partners, systems, and administrative staffing is remarkable. The success of the program was due to heroic effort and sacrifices by AUW, CCH, and HHFDC.”

In September, Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program (RRHAP) was launched to provide much-needed financial assistance for renters/homeowners severely impacted by COVID-19. AUW has distributed nearly $21 million to applicants through partnerships with over a dozen non-profit agencies. Catholic Charities Hawaii was able to distribute over $38 million.

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The program received more than 18,300 applications in its first five weeks of operation and the program concluded on Dec. 31, 2020. More than $59.7 million in housing assistance was approved for 13,709 households.

Of the households receiving RRHAP financial assistance, 68% were at 50% area median income or lower. Fifteen percent of applicants reported no income.

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