Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024|
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Applications for a state-funded rental assistance program will open next week for the first time in five years.
The Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program is a Hawaii County program that can provide up to two years of housing assistance to qualified individuals and families.
Arianne Alonzo, community housing specialist for the county Office of Housing and Community Development, said the TBRA is similar in structure to the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, and is available to households at or below 60% of the median family income level — for a family of four, that is $57,120.
The county has not opened applications for the TBRA since 2018, Alonzo said, explaining that the county has prioritized administering Section 8 and various COVID-related housing assistance programs over the past five years. However, between Jan. 19 and Jan. 26, residents will be able to submit initial TBRA applications to the county housing office.
“If they’re found to be income-eligible, and they have a rental site approved by the county, they can get a housing voucher,” Alonzo said.
Eligible applicants will be added to a waitlist, and confirmation of an applicant’s position on the list will be sent within about a week after Jan. 26.
Certain applicants will be given preferential position on waitlist. Those displaced by natural disaster or government action, those experiencing or displaced by domestic violence, homeless individuals, families seeking reunification, the terminally ill, foster youth aging out of foster care, and families in transitional housing will be prioritized among the applicants.
After the waitlist closes, the county will select applicants from the list for a screening process, wherein the applicant will be required to submit relevant documentation.
Alonzo said she isn’t sure how many people will be added to the waitlist, but she noted there were at least 2,500 applications for Section 8 assistance last year. Similarly, she said the number of people who the program can serve is dependant upon the applicants’ circumstances.
“I’m just hoping a lot of people apply,” Alonzo said.
More information about the program, including a form to apply, can be found at housing.hawaiicounty.gov/housing-assistance/housing-waitlist.
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