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Oʻahu Rental Assistance Program for Homeless Searching for Landlords

Sandee Oshiro

The Oʻahu Housing Now program is looking for landlords willing to house those experiencing homelessness.

Oʻahu Housing Now is a rapid re-housing program working to move the chronically homeless into housing. The program’s main goals are to improve the rental history for people experiencing homelessness and to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Emergency Solution Grant from the CARES Act granted $25 million for the project—to guarantee rent and utility payments for landlords for the duration of the lease.

"Our folks are oftentimes stuck in the cycle of poverty and it’s a lot of hard work to stay in poverty," said Laura Thielen, Executive Director for Partners in Care an organization overlooking the Oʻahu Housing Now program.

"Signing up for benefits ⎼ if you miss one month, then you have to go through the whole process again. A lot of our folks are just beaten up and they haven’t been able to get out of it long enough to be able to move forward," she said.

The Oʻahu Housing Now program began actively housing clients in March. About 80 households have been housed in the past two months.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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