Hawaii receives millions in grant money from CARES Act

Senator Mazie Hirono and Congressman Ed Case announced on Thursday that Hawaii has received over $12 million in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants to assist in the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved by Congress last week.

The grants will be used to address the housing needs of Hawaii residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will go into the Community Development Block Grant Program, the Emergency Solution Grant Program, and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program, according to Case’s office. The three programs provide resources and services to help individuals access housing, community assistance services, and jobs. HOPWA is dedicated to funding housing and supportive services for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS.

 

 

“The coronavirus pandemic has stretched resources thin for families and communities across the country,” Senator Hirono said in a prepared statement. “This funding is a critical early step in protecting and providing resources for some of our most at-risk populations. I will continue my advocacy to ensure that future coronavirus relief packages prioritize workers, families, and the most vulnerable.”

 

According to Case’s office, the grants are awarded as follows:

 

 

Also on Thursday, Hirono and Case announced the federal government had awarded Hawaii $107 million in funding from the CARES Act to support the state’s transit agencies.

The funding will be used to keep public transportation running in the state, improve public health and safety efforts on public transit, pay transit workers put on leave due to reductions in service or who have had to be quarantined, and for the purchase of personal protective equipment.

“[On Wednesday], Honolulu’s city bus system moved to a holiday schedule,” said Case. “That move was prompted because ridership has dropped dramatically due to the orders to “stay at home, work at home.”

“But we still need to maintain a functioning public transportation system across the state, both through this crisis and as we emerge from it, and this award will help to keep those systems going and their employees on the job.”

$90.8 million of the funding is slated for the City and County of Honolulu. The County of Maui will receive $7.86 million, and $8.9 million will go to the state to spend on transit across the state, according to Hirono’s office.

“While we have a stay at home order, there are Hawaii residents who still need to use the bus system to access essential jobs, medical treatment, and food. This funding will keep county bus systems running, and help them operate in a safe manner that protects passengers and transit employees,” Senator Hirono said.