|Nāʻālehu Volunteer firefighters in a pre-COVID parade. Tomorrow, the County Building will light up in red to honor |
fallen firefighters and continue the evening illuminations until dawn of Sunday. Oct. 3. See more below.
Photo by Leilani Esperanza
Congressman Kai Kahele with Afghan children today
at Upshur Village in Marine Corps Base Quantico.
Photo from Kai Kahele
"As we have done many times before, the United States stands as a beacon of hope for those fleeing danger and seeking a new home," said Kahele. "The relocation of Afghan nationals who stood shoulder to shoulder with U.S. troops and their families remains a top priority for myself and fellow members of the For Country Caucus. I commend the efforts of the MCB Quantico personnel, who are aiding thousands of vulnerable Afghans as they start a new beginning for themselves and their families."
Since Operation Allies Welcome commenced on August 29, 2021, thousands of vulnerable Afghans have arrived at U.S. military facilities across the country to receive screening, vetting, medical care and immigration processing. At Upshur Village, Congressman Kahele and the Caucus were briefed by the operation's commanding officers. As of Sept. 24: 3,711 vulnerable Afghans are lodged at Upshur Village; over 1,100 are children under the age of 16; all eligible vulnerable Afghans have been fully vaccinated; and each week, 350 Afghans are being processed for resettlement in the United States.
Kahele is a cosponsor of the WELCOMED Act, Welcoming Evacuees Coming from Overseas to Mitigate Effects of Displacement, in order to provide Afghan refugees to be eligible for the same government benefits that other refugees have traditionally received.
and second doses have priority over any booster doses. "The best way to protect Hawai‘i families and communities is to ensure that unvaccinated Hawai‘i residents complete their primary vaccine series," said Cabatu.
Cabatu noted that while DOH recommends individuals 65 and older and those 50-64 with underlying conditions be given priority, other groups are also eligible to receive booster shots and should be accommodated as vaccine allocation allows. They are individuals age 18-49 with underlying medical conditions, based on individual benefits and risks; and those age 18-64 and at high risk for occupational or institutional exposure, based on individual benefits and risks.
Pfizer vaccine recipients unsure if they qualify for a booster should check with their healthcare provider.
Hilo Medical Center’s FEMA-funded staff dispensing monoclonal antibody (MoAB) treatments arrived Thursday and began orientation in preparation of the clinic’s opening day today. According to Cabatu, "In this delta surge, we continue to see unvaccinated, post-COVID patients most severely impacted with longer hospitalizations. Please consider getting the vaccination if you haven’t gotten it yet."
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Maximum annual household incomes for those who apply are: $47,950 for one person, $54,800 for two, $61,650 for three, $68,500 for four, $74,000 for five, $79,500 for six, $84,950 for seven, and $90,450 for eight.
The income limits reflect help available for Hawaiʻi Island renters who earn below 80 percent area median income who can provide an unemployment letter or attest to financial hardship in writing to establish eligibility for grant assistance. Grants will be available through June 30, 2022, pending availability of funds.
Housing Navigators will be hired and trained to help local renters find housing that is affordable. Rental deposit funds up to one additional month's rent will be made available to landlords and property management companies who rent to low-income Hawaiʻi Island renters supported by Housing Navigators.
Fees for rental applications, moving costs, damages to hotel and motel stays beyond normal wear-and tear, and legal services will be funded for qualified, low-income renters. Financial counseling and affordable loans for low-income renters will be offered through Financial Empowerment and Opportunity Centers.
Increased legal services and landlord-tenant mediation will be available to assist more local renters in need. Community Navigators will be hired and trained to go out into hard-to-reach communities to promote financial assistance available to renter households facing hardship.
The mayor said, “It’s important for our community to know that we are here for them and that we are doing all we can to make sure that these funds end up in the hands of those who need it most. We are asking everyone out there who may be experiencing a hard time to just try and apply. A little bit of help can go a long way in ensuring that our local families keep the roofs over their head as we head into the holiday season.”
The County and ERAP nonprofit partners encourage community groups, faith-based organizations, employers, public agencies, utility companies, landlords, service providers, and policymakers to help spread the word islandwide.
ERAP is funded by the County of Hawai'i through federal funding. Funding is limited to renters who live on Hawaiʻi Island. Households are limited to 15 months of total grant assistance, including assistance from previous programs. All renters who have annual household incomes below 80 percent of area median can apply through one of the nonprofit partners.
To qualify for grants for past due rent or utilities, three months of rent in advance, rental deposits, or temporary hotel or motel stays, applicants must meet the following qualifications: Be a Hawai'i Island renter; at least 18 years old; show proof of financial hardship (provide an unemployment/PUA approval letter or request an attestation form from nonprofit providers to confirm financial hardship in writing); show 2020 or current annual gross household income at or below 80 percent of area median income for the number of members in the household.
ERAP prioritizes households at or below 50 percent of area median income with household members who have been unemployed for 90 days preceding the date of the application.
Applicants will be required to submit: Proof of Hawai'i residency and age; copy of photo ID; income documents for all household members (provide all that apply); all pages and scheduled for 2020 Federal Tax Form or 30 days most recent pay stubs; one month most recent business bank statements (if self-employed); and unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefit letter and public benefit statements, if applicable.
Other income documentation may include child/alimony support letter, pension and retirement statement. To document housing, the program requires a copy of completed, current, and signed rental lease contract.
Also to prove hardship the program requires one of the following: Unemployment or PUA approval letter; written attestation (request from nonprofit) Housing Assistance; past due rent notice with the amount owed; eviction notice with the amount owed; and/or or past-due utility notice.
For more information or to apply, visit www.HawaiCountyERAP.org.
To apply, go online or contact any nonprofit partner:HOPE Services, 357 Waianuenue Avenue Hilo, HI 96720, www.hopeserviceshawaii.org, 808-935-3050, ERAP@hopeserviceshawaii.org;
Hawai'i First Federal Credit Union,1221 Kilauea Avenue, Suite 150 Hilo, HI 96720, www.hawaiifirstfcu.com, 808-933-6600, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Neighborhood Place of Puna,16-105 Opukahaia Street Keaau, HI 96749, www.neighborhoodplace.org, 808-965-5550, ERAP@neighborhoodplace.org;
Habitat for Humanity Hawai'i Island, 73-4161 Uluwini Place Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, www.habitathawaiiisland.org/, 808-843-0071, email@example.com;
The Salvation Army, 219 Ponahawai Street Hilo, HI 97620, hawaii.salvationarmy.org, 808-935-1277, Hilo.ERAP@usw.salvationarmy.org;
Hawai'i County Economic Opportunity Council, 47 Rainbow Drive Hilo, HI 96720, www.hceoc.net, 808-932-2714, ERAP@hceoc.net.
|Firefighters, over the years, have risked their lives in eucalyptus infernos|
to protect Ka`u Coffee lands. Photo by Julia Neal
Fall sports for this year are: Football, with head coach DuWayne Ke; Girls Volleyball with head coach Josh Ortega; Cross Country with Head Coach David Wells; Bowling with Head Coach Hi'i Lapera and Cheerleading with Heach Coach Carma Hanshew. See the schedule in an upcoming Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs.