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Individual COVID-19 Hardship Relief Program

HONOLULU -- Today, the City and County of Honolulu announced an Individual COVID-19 Hardship Relief Program using money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This relief fund will begin with $25 million in CARES Act funds targeted to assist those hardest hit by unemployment or business interruptions due to COVID-19 related business closures. The relief fund is intended to assist with basic needs, such as rent, eligible utilities, childcare, and other essential expenses. The program is scheduled to launch on May 18.

"Here on Oʻahu, 134,360 of our residents have filed for unemployment. These are our family, our friends, our neighbors," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. "During these unprecedented times, we appreciate our partners working with us to respond to the needs of our community."

A public-private partnership between the City and County of Honolulu, non-profit partners Aloha United Way, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Helping Hands Hawaiʻi, and other service providers will work directly with individuals and families facing economic hardship to administer these resources and ensure our residents have the support they need.

"We stand ready to kōkua - this is the perfect time for our community to come together with non-profit providers, City leadership, and our families," said Kūhiō Lewis, CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

Norm Baker, Interim President and CEO of Aloha United Way, added, "from our 211 calls at Aloha United Way, we hear every day what the need is, and the need is ramping up, so the dollars need to be there to support folks. It's programs like this that are going to achieve that."

The program will provide funding support to Oʻahu residents in amounts up to $1,000 per month for qualified household expenses and up to $500 per month for qualified childcare expenses to alleviate economic hardships caused by the pandemic. Each household may receive benefits as the hardship continues up to 6 months. Proper documentation will accompany an application to demonstrate hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualified expenses will be paid directly to the vendor on behalf of the applicant.

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