Monetary help remains to be wanted a yr after the pandemic began, which choices can be found in Hawaii
HONOLULU (KHON2) – Hawaii is in a pandemic for just over a year.
Although the economy appears to be on the recovery path, many families are still struggling to make ends meet.
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Some need financial support while others need basic necessities like food.
One of the things that is becoming increasingly difficult for people to pay is rent. Catholic Charities Hawaii tells KHON2 that people keep calling and saying they need rental assistance.
“While the economy is still opening up, that doesn’t mean everyone can go back to work,” said Jillian Okamoto, department administrator for the Hawaii Catholic charity. “If people are still getting back to work slowly, they won’t get all of their full paychecks at once. They could still only work ten hours compared to their usual 40. “
Okamoto said the Catholic Charities Hawaii’s most recent rental assistance program received 10,000 applicants in January, but only 2,000 slots were open.
“We have seen people who have had no income for six months,” said Okamoto. “It’s really unfortunate. It’s very sad, but those were the ones we were able to prioritize first. “
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Not only is it rental assistance sought after, but food distribution popups from the Hawaii Food Bank are also available. The organization runs four a month and they say these spots run out quickly.
“When we open the registry, they usually fill out the spaces,” said Danny Schlag, spokesman for Hawaii FoodBank. “Usually 400 or so. They usually fill up within a few minutes. “
He said the need for food had not slowed down over the course of the pandemic. Many who turned to help still sign up for these food distribution events.
“We are still experiencing some economic delays with the reopening,” said Schlag. “These people not only asked for help for the first time, but are now also in need for the next few months. This is really a new phenomenon for many people. “
Schlag said an advantage is that they again receive monetary donations along with monetary donations. So these have helped increase their populations, but they will need more as the pandemic continues.
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For those who have been unemployed for months, bills growing has also become a problem.
The Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) said about 16,000 residents are behind on bills and their current average balance owed is $ 1,500, but it’s rising rapidly.
“It was just a steady increase because a lot of people were unable to get back to work,” said Shannon Tangonan, HECO spokeswoman.
HECO breakups have been put on hold until May 31, but that date is getting closer. Tangonan said there are some options to get rid of the debt. The city and county of Honolulu will offer a rental and utility program beginning April 5. HECO continues to offer a payment plan.
“It’s not an either-or situation, you can get financial assistance, and you can also set up a payment arrangement. We want customers to know they can take advantage of all of these different options,” said Tangonan.