Since the Hawaii eviction moratorium expired on August 6, the Centers for Disease Control issued a notice that their August 3 eviction order would continue to apply to all counties across the state.
But just two days ago, on Thursday, the US Supreme Court ruled that the CDC was not empowered to issue such an order without the direct approval of Congress.
Although the order was immediately canceled, a considerable amount of help and support is still available. The waiver of the CDC order will not affect the rental, mortgage, and utility facilitation funds already received from the County of Maui.
The county has raised $ 40 million to help residents in need of rental and mortgage assistance due to COVID-19. So far, only 645 households have received money to avoid evictions and potential homelessness, leaving about $ 35 million available.
On August 13th, I hosted an eviction moratorium round table to help residents understand the different types of assistance available to both landlords and tenants. A replay of the discussion and other information can be accessed at mauicounty.us/sugimura.
“People have experienced real hardship in the last year and a half” Lori Tsuhako, director of housing and human affairs, said at the round table. “Help is there – please use it.”
For residents in need of help, there has been rent allowance and future rent since March 31, 2020.
Even if there are no longer any federal or federal eviction moratoriums, mediation prior to a judicial eviction suit is mandatory under state law. Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed House Bill 1376 to help both landlords and tenants.
This law, introduced by Rep. Troy Hashimoto, makes mediation a temporary requirement before an eviction request is made. The law extends the notice period for a rental agreement from five to 15 days in order to enable mediation. In addition, landlords must send a copy of a termination of a lease to an exchange that offers free landlord-tenant mediation at the same time as the notification to the tenant. The mediation center then arranges an appointment for both parties, whereby the mediation should be completed within 30 days of receipt of the notification.
Maui Mediation Services encourages landlords and tenants to seek their assistance in arranging, applying for rental assistance, and related services. You can also contact Maui Economic Opportunity or Catholic Charities Hawai’i directly and they will be happy to guide you through the application process.
Rental Assistance Funding is available to Maui County residents who qualify by September 30th. However, you need to be proactive in finding these resources and take the necessary steps to access help. If these funds are not used by the deadline, they will be redeployed across the country.
Although Hawaiian Electric Co. ended their interruption moratorium on May 31, they continue to work with customers to implement payment arrangements to ensure their service is not interrupted. They encourage their customers to come back when they have difficulty and they will do their best to work with you.
Here is a list of resources available to Maui County’s residents with a rental, mortgage, or utility needs:
• David WH Chee, Attorney, 539-1150, [email protected]
• Legal Aid Society of Hawaii Maui Branch, 244-3731, legalaidhawaii.org
Rent, mortgage and supply relief:
• Hawaiian Catholic Charities, 873-4673, catholiccharitieshawaii.org/housinghelp/
• Maui Economic Opportunity, HELP Program, 249-2970, meoinc.org
• Hawaiian Electric Company, 871-7777 (Maui) or 871-8461 (Moloka’i, Lana’i), hawaiianelectric.com/hawaiian-electrics-response-to-covid-19/covid-19
• County of Maui, Housing and Human Concerns, mauicounty.gov/mauirenthelp
• Maui Mediation Services, 344-4255, [email protected], mauimediation.org
I encourage community members to share this information with friends and family. If you are in need, ask for help. For more information, contact my office at 270-7887 or call me directly at 870-8047.
* Yuki Lei Sugimura is the Chair of the Infrastructure and Transportation Committee. She holds the council seat for the Upcountry residential area. “3 minutes of council” is a column that brings you the latest news on legislative affairs in the county. Visit mauicounty.us for more information.