DHHL Launches Rental Relief Program

A new program to provide rental relief for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Applicant Waiting List beneficiaries launches today, in partnership with Aloha United Way. The program’s implementation was approved by the Hawaiian Homes Commission 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 funds. These funds were made available in accordance with the Native Hawaiian Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act 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. Ailā, 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 Department is still on schedule to prepare 1,300 lots statewide over the next five years, and we hope this rental relief will keep applicant families on track to assume those lots once they are ready.”

“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.

DHHL COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program Criteria:

  • Must be native Hawaiian as defined by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and on DHHL’s Waiting List as of Dec. 31, 2018. No new applications will be considered.
  • Must have experienced a reduction of income or loss of income/job as a result of COVID-19.
  • Must have a total household annual income that does not exceed 80 percent area median income, as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • Must be receiving assistance for the individual’s primary residence located in the State of Hawai`i. The maximum monthly rent for a household to pay may not exceed 30 percent of the family’s monthly adjusted income and the maximum fair market rent that will be considered, as established by HUD’s fair market guidelines.

To apply for the program, beneficiaries will be required to provide a series of documentation to indicate a loss of income or job as a result of COVID-19.

Documents Required for Income Verification:

  • Two months of the most recent pay stubs
  • Two years of the most recent Federal tax returns, including all forms, schedules, and W-2 forms
  • Two months of the most recent bank statements
  • Rental/lease documentation
  • Verification, if unemployed, that unemployment was caused by the COVID-19 situation
  • As applicable:
    • Most recent social security benefit letter, retirement statement, financial assistance statement, unemployment benefit statement, disability statement, and documentation verifying non-employment status.
    • Divorce decree, to document alimony or child support received.
  • Note: Affidavits will be required for any minor children that are not reflected on Federal tax returns, for any adult claiming to be unemployed and claiming to be exempt from filing Federal tax returns, or for other situations as applicable and upon request.

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, click here.