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 ended 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. Households will be limited to 12 months of total grant assistance.
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 and https://kauairenthelp.com/applications/ on how to apply.
- 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 native Hawaiian and living in the State of Hawaiʻi
- Rent housing in the State of Hawaiʻi
- Be 18 years or older
- Prove income loss due to unemployment or loss of work for more than 90 days, a reduction in household income, or homelessness/housing instability
- Meet income qualification—less than 80% Area Median Income (AMI). Amount differs by county
Visit https://www.hawaiiancouncil.org/dhhl to learn more and apply.
The Affordable Connectivity Program replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit on December 31, 2021.
The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
Who Is Eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program?
A household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program if the household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income internet program;
- Participates in one of these assistance programs:
- The National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
- or Lifeline;
- Participates in one of these assistance programs and lives on Qualifying Tribal lands:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal TANF
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal Head Start (income based)
For more information visit: https://www.fcc.gov/acp
Funded through the Community Services Block Grant CARES Act Federal Funds, HCAP is providing utility assistance for those individuals and households impacted by COVID-19 through loss of employment, reduction of work hours, or other pandemic-related challenges.
Purpose: Homelessness Prevention and Energy Crisis Intervention
Provides: Utility Payments
Method: Assistance will be provided by direct payment made by HCAP to utility companies.
Visit https://www.hcapweb.org/hale-kakou/ to learn more.
To qualify for rent or utility assistance grants, 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.
You can find more resources from the City and our partners at oneoahu.org/resources.
It will help qualified people on Oʻahu pay for their rent and their bills for electricity, water and sewer, and natural gas. It will pay for up to 12 months of bills, depending on a person’s financial situation.
People can visit oneoahu.org/renthelp to sign up for a notification if/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 80% 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.
A complete list of income limits per household and how to qualify for the program is in the Frequently Asked Questions document at oneoahu.org/renthelp.
Visit https://www.oneoahu.org/renthelp for more information, updates, and to check if you qualify to apply.
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
OHA’s Emergency Financial Assistance Program helps Native Hawaiians, 18 and older living in Hawaiʻi, who are experiencing financial hardship due to loss of income. To qualify you must provide:
- Proof of Native Hawaiian verification (one of the following)
- Copy of Birth Certificate that says “Hawaiian”
- OHA Hawaiian Registry Card
- Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Lease
- Kamehameha Schools Ho’oulu Registry
- Proof of Financial Hardship (one of the following)
- Unemployement or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) approval letter
- Letter from employer verifying you have been laid off or lost hours at work
- Pay stubs prior to loss of income and current business bank statement (id self-employed)
- Business bank statements prior to loss of income and current business bank statements (if self-employed)
- OHA’s Emergency Financial Assistance program makes payments directly to vendors, e.g., landlord, HECO, or car repair shop. When you apply you will need to provide (one of the following) documents to show your need for assistance:
- Past due rent or eviction notice with amount owed
- Past due utility or disconnection notice with amount owed
- Bill from utility service (i.e., water delivery)
- Mortgage statement with past due amount
- Car repairs estimate(s) within 30 days of application; proof of ownership
- Funeral estimate(s) from third party vendor(s) within six months of application; death certificate or obituary notice indicating death within six months of application; proof of relationship to deceased
- Medical bill within three months of application that indicates out-of-pocket expense OR estimate for procedure/treatment scheduled to occur within one month of application or reasonable timeframe
- The vendor must also complete a W9 Form to receive payment. If you would like to request the vendor complete the W9 in advance you may download a copy of the W9 form here.
After you review the program requirements and you believe you may qualify for assistance please contact Alu Like.