COVID-19 Utility Assistance Programs
The Division of Consumer Advocacy supports the efforts of those providing aid in our communities as Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic.
The suspension of termination or disconnection of regulated utility services due to non-payment and/or assessment of other charges ends May 31, 2021. We encourage customers to contact their utility to work out payment arrangements, continue paying their bills to the extent possible during this time, and continue to be on the lookout for opportunities for bill assistance.
The Division of Consumer Advocacy wants to help inform consumers who may be in need of assistance of programs they may qualify for. The programs below all offer some sort of utility aid, even if it is not clear in the program title. Clicking each program will expand to show more information including program details and eligibility.
Eligible applicants may receive up to $4,500 per month for rent with no monthly cap on qualifying utilities. Information from both tenants and landlords must be provided in order for an application to qualify for the program.
To qualify for rent and/ or utility assistance on May 10, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Be a Kaua‘i County resident;
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Be a renter
- Have incurred a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic or experienced significant increased costs, or other financial hardship, directly or indirectly related to the outbreak, and have an annual gross household income at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI) for the number of members in their household.
Visit https://kauairenthelp.com/ to learn more.
Department of Hawaiian Homeland (DHHL) Rent Relief Program (DHHLRRP) is providing financial assistance to native Hawaiians on the DHHL Waiting List who experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are renters in the state of Hawai’i.
- Rent (maximum of 12 months)
- Back rent from March 13, 2020 to current
- Utilities (electric, gas, water/sewer, trash)
- Back payment on utilities going back to March 13, 2020
- Be on the DHHL Applicant Waiting List OR an Undivided Interest Lessee in the State of Hawaiʻi
- Rent housing in the State of Hawaiʻi
- Be 18 years or older
- Prove one or members of household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or other financial hardship due to COVID-19
- Demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, unsafe or unhealthy living conditions, or any other evidence of such risk
- Meet income qualification—less than 80% Area Median Income (AMI). Amount differs by county.
Visit http://www.hawaiiancouncil.org/dhhl to learn more and apply.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
A household is eligible if one member of the household:
- Qualifies for the Lifeline program
- Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
When Can I Sign Up for the Benefit?
The program has been authorized, but the start date has not yet been established. Please continue to check the Emergency Broadband Benefit page for program updates.
To qualify for rent or utility assistance grants starting April 12th, applicants must meet the following qualifications:
- Be a Hawai’i Island resident
- At least 18 years old
- Lost income due to COVID‐19
- 2020 or current annual gross household income at or below 80% of area median income for the number of members in their household.
Click here for more information and how to apply.
The Hawai‘i Utility Bill Assistance program was created to help Hawaiʻi residents who are financially affected by the pandemic and who have fallen behind on their payments to electric, water, sewer and gas utilities.
To qualify for assistance, you need to demonstrate the following criteria:
- Must be a full-time resident of the state of Hawaii.
- Inability to make utility payments including electric, gas, water and/or sewer, as confirmed by current past-due bills.
- Primary residential service address only – no commercial businesses permitted.
- Maximum benefit assistance per household: $750 total (combined)
- Applicant may only apply for assistance with utility bills from approved public utility companies listed in the application.
- Documentation provided must have originated from utility company
Visit https://www.auw.org/utilityhelp for more information or to check the status of your application.
For qualified households, the program pays up to:
○ Past rent and utility bills: $2,500 a month. The program can pay bills going back to March 13, 2020.
○ Current and future bills: $2,000 a month for rent and up to $500 a month for utilities.
● Up to 12 months of total support is available.
● Payments are made directly to the landlord or utility
The program requires a qualifying household to:
o Show financial harm from the pandemic, such as qualifying for unemployment, job loss, reduction in wages, or increase in household expenses.
o Show at least one household member is at risk of losing their housing.
o Have a household income at or below 80% of area annual income, according to household size
For more information view frequently asked questions here.
Apply at https://mauicounty.gov/MauiRentHelp
People can visit oneoahu.org/renthelp to sign up for a notification when the portal re-opens. We encourage people to visit oneoahu.org/resources to find more support services offered by the City, our government partners, and nonprofits.
What the Program Pays For
For qualified households, the rent and utility program pays:
- Up to $2,500 a month in rent and utility arrears going back to March 2020.
- Up to $2,000 for future rent payments.
- Up to $500 a month for future electric, water and sewer, and gas bills.
- For future payments, a household must re qualify every three months and funds must be available.
- Eligible household utilities: Electricity, water and sewer, and gas.
- Total length of rent and utility help is 12 months per household.
- Not eligible: Mortgages, home and/or cell phone bills, because of federal regulations.
Who Can Qualify
The program requires a qualifying household to:
- Show financial harm from the pandemic, such as qualifying for unemployment, job loss, reduction in wages, or increase in household expenses.
- Show at least one household member is at risk of losing their housing.
- Be below the income limits.
Priority will be given to applicants who qualify:
- With a household income less than 50% of the area median income for Honolulu County; OR
- If a household member has been unemployed for at least 90 days at the time of application AND is still unemployed at the time of application.
To make sure applications are reviewed and payments are made in a timely manner, the program will process applications in groups of 8,000. Once the program receives the first group of 8,000 applications, the portal will temporarily close to review applications and make payments to landlords and utilities. Then the program will open for the next 8,000 applications. That cycle will keep repeating as long as the program has funding.
Visit https://www.oneoahu.org/renthelp for more information, updates, and to check if you qualify to apply.