Financial relief for lessees on Hawaiian Home Lands has arrived in the form of a new Homeowner Assistance Program. The program will assist homesteaders struggling to pay their mortgage, utilities, property taxes, insurance, or association fees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The assistance program will deploy $5 Million in federal funds from the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant in accordance with the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act.
In April 2020, the department began allowing deferrals of mortgage loan payments for DHHL direct loans and loans assigned to the department. The Mortgage Deferral Program ran through March 2021 and assisted over 700 lessees who took advantage of deferring their monthly payments during the pandemic shutdowns.
Homesteaders who had mortgages from private lenders were unable to take advantage of the Mortgage Deferral Program.
DHHL’s new Homeowner Assistance Program is open to all homeowners on Hawaiian Home Lands who earn below 80 percent of the Area Median Income and have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 30, 2021 there were 4,488 mortgages on Hawaiian Home Lands.
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is administering DHHL’s Homeowner Assistance Program.
CNHA and DHHL were also recently recognized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a high-performing grantee for successfully dispersing $2.4 Million in Emergency Rental Assistance, and there are still funds available from CNHA for Native Hawaiian renters.
Hawaiʻi’s congressional delegation has consistently secured federal funding to serve Native Hawaiians throughout the pandemic. From emergency rental assistance to infrastructure funding and now mortgage assistance, it is reassuring that our leaders are finding ways to provide for the Native Hawaiian community.
Beneficiaries can find more information and application forms for DHHL’s Homeowner Assistance Program at www.hawaiiancouncil.org/kokua.