Maui Business

Mayor Victorino Adds $3 Million to H.E.L.P. Program

July 19, 2020, 10:41 AM HST
* Updated July 19, 11:11 PM
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Mayor Michael Victorino announced that Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. continues to accept applications for the Hawaiʻi Emergency Laulima Partnership (H.E.L.P.) program.

Through June 30, MEO received 5,690 applications and approved 4,361 for financial assistance through the program, for a total of $1.9 million in assistance.

The County of Maui has now allocated $5 million in general funds for the H.E.L.P. program, up from the initial $2 million when the program was launched. The program provided assistance to 11,775 individuals through the end of June.

“This program is helping our working families impacted by COVID-19 with essentials such as rent, food and utilities,” Mayor Victorino said. “This support helps our residents until they can safely return to work.”

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The H.E.L.P. program provides financial assistance for Maui County residents to bridge the gap created by layoffs and reduction in work hours resulting in loss of income due to COVID-19. Assistance may be used for food, personal hygiene, medicine, rent, mortgage, utility payments, phone or Internet service, insurance or other essentials.

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Most of the assistance has been for food, with 4,574 applications for nutrition assistance, followed by utilities, 1,385 applications; and rent/mortgage, 878 applications.

MEO Chief Executive Officer Debbie Cabebe said: “The response has been overwhelming as the need is great. There are so many individuals applying for HELP that have never had to utilize any type of assistance in the past. They are grateful. When talking to recipients, you hear a sense of panic, and then a sigh of relief when we tell them assistance is on the way.”

Individuals who need assistance can still apply online at www.meoinc.org. The application form and instructions are available on MEO’s home page, along with an online tutorial.

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Applicants are asked to submit all of the required supporting documents.

To qualify, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Only one individual per household may receive assistance.
  • A qualified individual shall not possess more than $5,000 in liquid assets.
  • A qualified applicant must show 25 percent or more reduction in income after March 4, 2020.
  • A household shall be designated based on its most current tax filing.
  • A household shall not apply for assistance more than once in a 30-day period.

Beginning July 1, the maximum assistance in a 30-day period has increased to:

  • Family of 1-2, $500
  • Family of 3-4, $750
  • Family of 5-6, $1,000
  • Family of 7-plus, $1,250

Individuals who’ve already received assistance may apply for additional assistance on MEO’s home page at meoinc.org. Additional documentation is not needed for applicants who’ve already received assistance, except for a copy of a bill to be paid or for food vouchers.

Applications can be submitted online or at one of the secured drop boxes located at:

  • Front parking lot of the MEO office at 99 Mahalani Street, Wailuku
  • Front entrance of the Kalana O Maui (County) Building in Wailuku

Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi community members may submit applications online or at their local MEO office:

  • Molokaʻi: 380 Kolapa Place, Kaunakakai
  • Lānaʻi: 1144 ʻIlima #102, Lānaʻi City

 

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