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County announces help to pay water bills

The county Department of Water Supply said in a Friday statement that federal relief money will be made available to help eligible water customers pay their overdue utility bills.

The Hawaii County Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide up to 12 months of total utility and rental-assistance grants to an expected 3,400 Hawaii Island households that meet income qualifications and can prove financial hardship due to COVID-19.

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Grant applications will be made available starting at 8 a.m. Monday. Hawaii Island residents at least 18 years old and who lost income since March 2020 are encouraged to prepare now so they are ready to apply when applications are opened.

Funding is limited, and interest is expected to be very strong.

Contact one of the nonprofit partners below to apply:

• HOPE Services Hawaii at 935-3050 or ERAP@hopeserviceshawaii.org;

• Hawaii First Federal Credit Union at 933-6600 or empower@hawaiifirstfcu.com;

• Neighborhood Place of Puna at 965-5550 or ERAP@neighborhoodplace.org;

• Habitat for Humanity Hawaii Island at 843-0071 or rmap@habitathawaiiisland.org;

• The Salvation Army at 935-1277 or Hilo.ERAP@usw.salvationarmy.org; or

• Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council at 932-2714 or ERAP@hceoc.net.

Annual income for eligible households cannot exceed 80 percent of area median income.

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Applicants will need proof of Hawaii residency, proof of financial hardship, past due water bill, and other documentation.

For more info or to apply, visit www.HawaiiCountyERAP.org. DWS customers may also call DWS Customer Service at 961-8060 or visit www.hawaiidws.org.

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