News Release

Office of Hawaiian Affairs

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) announced yesterday it is making $1,044,253 available to implement an emergency financial assistance program for Native Hawaiians. Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ Ka Wailele Emergency Financial Assistance Program is being administered by Hawaiʻi Community Lending (HCL), a Native Hawaiian community development financial institution.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs is encouraging Native Hawaiians — who are at least 18 years old and in financial hardship — to review program requirements and apply. Program applications will be available starting June 1, 2021, at 8 a.m. No income requirements apply.

Applications for Office of Hawaiian Affairs' emergency financial assistance program accepted beginning June 1, 2021.

Applications for Office of Hawaiian Affairs' emergency financial assistance program accepted beginning June 1, 2021.

Ka Wailele will provide grants up to $1,500 for past due rent, mortgage, utilities and rent deposits to an estimated 520 households that can prove Native Hawaiian ancestry, Hawaiʻi residency, financial hardship, and need for housing and/or utility assistance. Native Hawaiians are limited in receiving Office of Hawaiian Affairs emergency financial assistance to one grant every two years.

Hawaiian Community Lending will process applications, and payments will be made directly to landlords, mortgage lenders, or utility providers. Approved applicants will also have access to financial counseling, additional grants or affordable loans, and career coaching through Financial Opportunity Centers run by Hawaiian Community Lending’s parent corporation, Hawaiian Community Assets.

“Supporting Native Hawaiian ‘ohana in successfully navigating the challenges they face is integral to the work we do at Office of Hawaiian Affairs,” said Office of Hawaiian Affairs Ka Pouhana/CEO Dr. Sylvia Hussey. “We hope that the emergency financial assistance from Office of Hawaiian Affairs will help alleviate some of the stress created by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as connect ‘ohana with other valuable resources that are available to them.”

“We mahalo Office of Hawaiian Affairs for their investment in bringing emergency financial assistance to the community at this critical time,” said Hawaiian Community Lending Executive Director Jeff Gilbreath. “Our organization looks forward to partnering with Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Native Hawaiian Trusts, and community members on the ground to ensure these funds help stabilize housing, so we can begin to move families toward economic recovery.”

Native Hawaiians in financial hardship should apply online at www.oha.org/emergencyaid or www.kawailele.org. Persons without internet access or a computer are encouraged to call Hawaiian Community Lending at (808) 587-7656 to request a paper application or complete an application over the phone. In-person assistance will be available at Financial Opportunity Centers and remote offices statewide

Ka Wailele Program Requirements

To qualify for Ka Wailele grants starting June 1, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be Native Hawaiian residing in Hawaiʻi;
  • At least 18 years old;
  • Be in financial hardship; and
  • Have documents to prove past due rent, mortgage, utilities, or rental deposit 

Required Documents

Native Hawaiian applicants will be required to submit the following documents with their applications starting June 1 to be considered for Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ Ka Wailele grants:

Proof of Age and Hawaiʻi Residency

  • Copy of Picture ID

Native Hawaiian Verification (One of the following)

  • Copy of Birth Certificate
  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs Hawaiian Registry Card
  • Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Lease
  • Kamehameha Schools Hoʻoulu Registry

Proof of Financial Hardship (One of the following)

  • Unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) approval letter
  • Letter from employer verifying you have been laid off or lost hours at work

Housing (One of the following)

  • Complete, signed, dated rental lease
  • Mortgage statement

Assistance Needed (One of the following)

  • Past due rent or eviction notice with amount owed
  • Past due utility or disconnection notice with amount owed
  • Bill from utility service (i.e., water delivery)
  • Mortgage statement with past due amount

Learn more at www.oha.org/emergencyaid.

Hawaiʻi Community Lending (HCL) is a 501c3 nonprofit Native community development financial institution that increases access to credit and capital for the economic self-sufficiency of underserved Hawaii residents with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians. Since 2003, Hawaiian Community Lending has worked with its parent corporation, Hawaiian Community Assets, to assist local, underserved families access $161 million for affordable housing through grants, loans, and mortgage financing.

About the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Established by the state Constitutional Convention in 1978, Office of Hawaiian Affairs is a semi-autonomous state agency mandated to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians. Guided by a board of nine publicly elected trustees, Office of Hawaiian Affairs fulfills its mandate through advocacy, research, community engagement, land management and the funding of community programs. Learn more at www.oha.org.

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