Affected people who are making less than 100% of Area Median Income (for a family of four, from $83,300 on the Big Island to $125,900 on Oahu) can apply for help, and if their application is approved the State will pay their landlords or lenders directly.
There is, however, a small catch. Some landlords are refusing the money. Which makes one wonder about what is going to happen to the tenant once the State’s moratorium on evictions expires at the end of the year.
Why are they refusing the money? In a Honolulu Star-Advertiser article, Gavin Thornton, the executive director of the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice and a member of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness, said:
[S]ome of the landlords are unwilling to participate in the program, unwilling to sign off to receive the payments — allegedly because they don’t have their GE [general excise tax] licenses. They’re not paying their taxes on that rental income. So that’s potentially a problem that could prevent tenants who otherwise are eligible for the program, not receiving those funds that they really need. So we’re hoping very much that those tenants somehow, some way, will ultimately be able to access those resources.