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State lawmakers discuss rental assistance bill for homeless kūpuna

Flickr - jamesfischer

The Kūpuna Caucus has introduced proposals to provide financial aid for homeless older adults.

HB1826 and its companion bill SB2677 would create a pilot rent subsidy program under the Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority. Adults 62 years and older who are homeless or on the brink of immediate homelessness would be eligible.

The program would ensure participating clients do not pay more than half of their net income for rent. The Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority would also provide mental health services and housing counseling.

"With the economy now, such that the cost of housing is increasing, and kūpuna are on fixed incomes, that we have neglected to look at the vulnerable seniors who have no income to pay for the rent, increasing rent," said Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, head of the Kūpuna Caucus.

"This program really is to prevent homelessness among our seniors, as well as to help them who are homeless to get into some housing so that they can have a shelter over their head and a place to live," Moriwaki said.

HB 1826 will be discussed at the House Committee on Housing on Tuesday.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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