Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act that was enacted on March 11, 2021 provides Hawaii with an additional $152 million for rent and utility assistance. The ERA program is being administered by the counties.

This funding is still pending issuance by U.S. Treasury and requires further guidance by the federal government before it can supplement the existing funding and program.


Eligible renter households are those with incomes of no more than 80 percent of area median income (AMI) who also meet the following conditions:

  • One or more individuals in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to or during the coronavirus outbreak; and
  • One or more individuals in the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which includes:
    • A past due utility, home energy, or rent notice or an eviction notice
    • Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions
    • Any other evidence of such risk as determined by the State or county grantee

Prioritized assistance will be given to households with incomes of no more than 50 percent of AMI as well as to Households in which one or more household members were unemployed for 90 days prior to application.

Qualified Expenses

Assistance can be used to pay for:

  • Rental arrears and future rent payments
  • Delinquent and future utility and home energy payments
  • Other expenses related to housing

Assistance will be paid directly to the landlord or utility company unless the landlord refuses to accept the funds, in which case the assistance can be paid to the renter.

Landlords and owners may apply on behalf of tenants meeting the eligibility requirements, so long as: (1) the tenant cosigns the application, (2) the landlord provides documentation to the tenant, and (3) the payments are used to satisfy the tenant’s rental obligation to the owner.


How to Apply

City and County of Honolulu

The City and County of Honolulu’s Rental and Utility Relief Program began taking applications on April 5, 2021. Due to high demand, the program has paused taking additional applications.  Interested renters can visit this page to sign up for a notification when the program reopens to applications.

Hawaii County

The Hawaii County Emergency Rental Assistance Program began taking applications on April 12, 2021. Six Hawaii Island-based nonprofit partners will process the applications.  Payments will be made directly to landlords, property managers, or utility providers. Information on program requirements and how to apply can be found at


Kauai County

The County of Kauai’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which is administered by the Kauai Government Employees Federal Credit Union, will begin accepting applications on May 1o, 2021. Families can apply at this site or can express interest by sending an email to


Maui County

Maui County is scheduled to being accepting applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in May 2021.  More information on how to apply can be found at



The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has additional resources for rent and mortgage assistance statewide.