Last updated May 18, 2020

Individual COVID-19 Hardship Relief Program

The City and County of Honolulu has launched the COVID-19 Hardship Relief Program to help the most economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program opened May 18, 2020 and will be administered directly by partners: Aloha United Way (2‑1‑1 or 808‑275‑2000), the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (808-596-8155), and Helping Hands Hawaiʻi (808‑536‑7234). Please reach out directly to one of these non-profit partners to apply.

Timeline:

  • Up to 6 months, but each month has to demonstrate ongoing hardship
  • Payments made from agency direct to vendor

Criteria:

  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate economic hardship due to COVID or business closures related to COVID
  • Applicants should be prepared to provide copies of tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs, to the extent available

Maximum per Household:

  • $1,000 per month; $500 additional per month for childcare services; Payments will be made directly to the vendor

Eligible Expenses:

  • Eligible payments may include rent or mortgage, certain utilities, and other necessary outstanding expenses

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps/EBT Card), General/Financial Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is an income-based program that provides crucial food and nutritional support to qualifying low-income and needy households, and those making the transition from welfare to self-sufficiency.

General/Financial Assistance Program provides cash benefits for food, clothing, shelter, and other essentials to adults ages 18 through 64, without minor dependents, who are temporarily disabled and who do not qualify for Social Security.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program is a time-limited welfare reform program for adults with children. This program provides monthly cash benefits to families for food, clothing, shelter, and other essentials.

Pre-screening is available by Helping Hands Hawaiʻi – (808) 440-3812

Digital fillable/printable PDF Application.

Use one application to apply for all programs, eligibility will be determined by the Processing Centers.

Applications are being accepted by:

  • Email – Application can be attached as pdf, photos are also accepted.
  • Drop off/Fax/Mail your application to the nearest processing center.
  • Community College Students can contact their local HINET Office on campus.

Hawaiʻi Nutrition Education and Training (HINET)

Hawaiʻi Nutrition Education and Training (HINET) program for UH Community College students receiving SNAP (aka Food Stamps). Students may be eligible to receive support services including tuition assistance, reimbursement for books and supplies, and transportation benefits.

Apply by completing an interest form on the site or by connecting with the program office at your campus.

Women, Infant, Children (WIC)

Hawaiʻi Nutrition Education and Training (HINET) program for UH Community College students receiving SNAP (aka Food Stamps). Students may be eligible to receive support services including tuition assistance, reimbursement for books and supplies, and transportation benefits.

Apply by completing an interest form on the site or by connecting with the program office at your campus.

UH Urgent Student Relief Fund

The purpose of the Urgent Student Relief Fund is to assist University of Hawaiʻi students with unexpected financial hardships incurred while enrolled at any UH campus to ensure students are afforded the ability to continue their education.

Student Eligibility Criteria

  • Currently enrolled at one or more of the UH campuses in a credit-based certificate or degree program.
  • Has a documentable temporary financial need resulting from an unexpected emergency event.

Learn how to apply.

Maui County – Hawaii Emergency Laulima Partnership (H.E.L.P.)

The County of Maui allocated $2 million in general funds to the program to assist families with members who have lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The H.E.L.P. program offers financial assistance for Maui County residents with essential needs such as food, personal hygiene, medicine, rent, mortgage, utility services, phone or internet services, car payments, and other necessities. The program is being administered through a partnership with Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. (MEO).

To qualify, individuals must show:

  • 25 percent or more reduction in income after March 4, 2020
  • Have less than $5,000 in liquid assets.

How to Apply

Application guidelines and a list of other required supporting documentation can be found online at www.meoinc.org. Applicants can submit application and documentation online or via paper at one of the secured drop boxes located at:

  1. Wailuku: Front parking lot of the MEO office at 99 Mahalani Street
  2. Wailuku: Front entrance of the Kalana O Maui (County) Building
  3. Lānaʻi: 1144 ʻIlima #102, Lānaʻi City

Call either 249-2990 or 249-2980 for more information.

Helping Hands Hawaii (HHH) Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) (Rent/Utilities)

The Helping Hands Hawaii Emergency Assistance Program provides individuals and families who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless with emergency financial assistance that is aimed towards preventing homelessness or aiding those that are in transition. In general, this program primarily provides assistance with rent and utilities.

Eligibility:

  • There must be an unexpected emergency situation that has occurred that was beyond the household’s control, which has since been resolved. Examples of an emergency situation include (but are not limited to) layoffs from employment, being sick and missing work for a long duration of time, death in the family of an income-earner, or medical emergencies/serious health complications.
  • The household must be able to show that they are able to be financially self-sufficient in future months. There must be enough income coming into the home to pay for all household expenses.
  • The individual/family applying must not have received financial assistance from Helping Hands Hawaii within the past 12 months.

Self-Sufficiency Grants

Self-Sufficiency Grants is an effort to assist individuals and families who, because they are working and live just above the poverty level, are ineligible for most types of conventional social assistance but who, all the same, are living one or two lost paychecks away from the kind of financial catastrophe that eventually leads to homelessness.

  • Special consideration is given to persons living alone (single persons with no dependent children), public school teachers, and first responders – the people who do the most for our communities but who don’t generally qualify to receive assistance from conventional agencies, even though these good folks are often grossly undercompensated for their work.

Two types of expenses:

  • Unexpected or emergency expenses that an individual or family living paycheck-to-paycheck could not possibly afford without a short-term hand-up.
  • Monthly bills that an individual or family living paycheck-to-paycheck cannot afford to pay at the time of their application because of a documentable extenuating circumstance that occurred within the past year.

Income & Employment guidelines and grant limitations are detailed on the website.

Apply by completing their on-line application.

Liliʻuokalani Trust – Emergency Stabilization Financial Assistance (Native Hawaiian)

Liliʻuokalani Trust is providing kōkua through one-time emergency stabilization financial assistance for those who qualify. Along with other community resources, we strive to collectively support our kamaliʻi and ʻohana.

Eligible families must have a Hawaiian kamaliʻi (child ages birth to 17 years old) residing in the household of the requestor and they must have legal authority to request this assistance;

  • There must be a direct financial impact resulting from COVID-19 (e.g., job loss, reduced hours, quarantine). Requestors are asked to provide documentation, if possible.
  • The requestor and kamaliʻi are not currently enrolled in Liliʻuokalani Trust services (e.g., case management, youth development programs).

If you are interested in applying for one-time Emergency Stabilization Financial Assistance, please call our LT Kōkua Line at (808) 466-8102. Please leave a message or send an email (COVIDHELP@ONIPAA.ORG) including your name and phone number. We are experiencing a high volume of requests and responding to inquiries in the order they are received. Please know that you are on our call back list.

Hours of operation: Tuesdays – Fridays, 9:00-11:00am & 1:00-3:00pm, excluding State/Federal Holidays.

Pūnāwai Program for Native Hawaiians

The Pūnāwai Program is a statewide Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA)-funded program that assists Native Hawaiian beneficiaries with services designed to help individuals and families stabilize their living situations/lives and work towards self-sufficiency in the future. Those services include asset incentives (“Individual Development Accounts”, which is a savings match program), financial literacy/education, emergency financial assistance, and information and referral/linkages to other needed community resources.

To apply:

  • Oahu residents, please contact our Pūnāwai Program Intake Line at 440-3804 to be screened for eligibility.
  • Big Island residents – Contact Hawaii Community Assets at (808) 934-0801 to set up an intake session.
  • Neighbor island residents, please contact your local Hawaii Community Assets office for more information.

Federal Student Aid FAQs

Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, answers frequently asked questions regarding the CARES act and forbearance information for students, borrowers, and parents.

Last modified: September 23, 2020