The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is partnering with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) to administer financial assistance to native Hawaiian renters on the DHHL Waiting List who are having difficulties meeting housing expenses in Hawaiʻi as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning today, February 8, 2021, CNHA will begin accepting applications for the DHHL Rent Relief Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. DHHL received a funding allocation of $2.4 million as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 to implement this relief program. The program will provide eligible participants with payments for rent, back rent, security deposits, utilities, home energy costs, and other expenses related to housing incurred during the pandemic.

“Many native Hawaiian families have been severely impacted by this pandemic, and CNHA is honored to work with DHHL in providing this much-needed assistance to those in our communities,” said CNHA President & CEO Kūhio Lewis. “CNHA will work directly with applicants who meet the requirements to receive relief in this program.”

Currently, there are about 28,000 people on the DHHL Waiting List. CNHA estimates that nearly 20 percent of them may qualify for this emergency rental assistance.

Funds from the program can be used to cover up to 12 months of rent and utilities, including back rent as far back as March 13, 2020. To qualify for this assistance, applicants are required to:

  • Be on the DHHL Applicant Waiting List OR an Undivided Interest Lessee in the State of Hawaiʻi
  • Rent housing in the State of Hawaiʻi
  • Be 18 years or older
  • Prove income loss due to unemployment or loss of work for more than 90 days, a reduction in household income, or homelessness/housing instability
  • Meet income qualification—less than 80% Area Median Income (AMI). Amount differs by county.

Applicants will also be required to provide documentation of their residency, as well as proof of hardship and income statements. Payments will be made directly to vendors owed money. More information and application forms can be found online at

The Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) first approved a pilot program for rental assistance in May 2020 utilizing funds from the National Hawaiian Housing Block Grant. The program was extended in August 2020.

“As we navigate through a new year, we want beneficiaries to know that the Department continues to work hard to meet the responsibilities it has to the trust but also to provide relief to those who have suffered significant hardship as a result of these turbulent times,” said HHC Chair William J. Aila, Jr.

About CNHA The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement is a member-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to enhance the cultural, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians. CNHA provides access to capital, financial education, and individualized counseling services with a focus on low and moderate-income families and serves as a National Intermediary, providing grants and loans targeting underserved communities in Hawaiʻi. About DHHL The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands carries out Prince Jonah Kūhio Kalaniʻanaʻole’s vision of rehabilitating native Hawaiians by returning them to the land, Established by U.S. Congress in 1921, with the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Hawaiian homesteading program run by DHHL includes management of over 200,000 acres of land with the specific purpose of developing and delivering homesteading.

Media Contacts: CNHA: Donalyn Dela Cruz,, (808) 216-4747

DHHL: Cedric Duarte,, (808) 620-9591