Hawaii Housing Assistance

Hawaii Housing Vouchers * Public Housing * Homeless * Making Home Affordable

Hawaii housing assistance includes numerous federally and state-funded programs specifically designed to help its residents with various housing needs.

Rental Help for residents of the State of Hawaii

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

Section 8 Housing Program is a federally funded rental assistance for low-income families, disabled persons, and the elderly available to all States. The Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers enable qualifying low-income population to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in private markets at their choice. Learn more about Section 8 Housing Programs.

Section 8 Housing Program for the State of Hawaii is administered by the Housing Authority of each county government. The Hawaii Public Housing Authority is responsible for the Island of Oahu except for Honolulu which is covered by the City and County of Honolulu Section 8 Program. In Hawaii, Section 8 rental assistance helps eligible low-income families by subsidizing their rental housing of choice through the Housing Choice Vouchers. The rental assistance offered by Section 8 helps qualifying Hawaii low-income families and individuals broaden their housing options in the private rental market.

The Housing Choice Vouchers which provide Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) are portable. They can be taken, if the beneficiaries move to a different place, and used to subsidize the rent of the new housing of choice. Each year U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets Fair Market rent limits for housing units based on its size and community market conditions. This Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, as reported by HUD, provides close to 9 thousand vouchers in total for needy families and individuals across the State of Hawaii.

Usually, each housing authority has a waiting list that is closed most of the time and the applications for the Section 8 Vouchers are taken periodically at a time determined by the Housing Authority. The open period for taking Section 8 applications is advertised and all related social service agencies are notified.

When the waiting list is open, completed applications are accepted from all applicants. The Housing Authority will then verify the information in each application relevant to the applicant’s eligibility, admission, and benefits level. Some housing authorities have lists with the order of priority. For example, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority listed the following as Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program Order of Priority and Preferences:

  1. Victim of Domestic Violence
  2. Homeless residing in a transitional shelter with a social service plan
  3. Involuntary displacement
  4. Living in substandard housing
  5. Paying more than 50% of family income towards rent and utilities
  6. Veterans and veteran’s surviving spouse
  7. Resident who live and/or work in the county
  8. Victims of reprisal or hate crimes
  9. Working families and those unable to work because of age or disability

If the applying household is approved, the local Housing Authority managing Section 8 Program issues a Housing Choice Voucher to the beneficiaries based on their family size and needs. Approved Section 8 applicants can select housing within a neighborhood of their choice from a property owner willing to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The owner of the property must sign the Section 8 contract with the Housing Authority.  Tenant Based Rental Assistance contracts must have a minimum lease of one year and cannot exceed two years – but they can be renewed. Choices of housing units may include family’s present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the local Housing Authority.

The HUD and local Housing Authority also determine fair market rents in TBRA units which must be affordable to low-income families and remain affordable for a designated amount of time.

The voucher recipients are required to pay 30% of their monthly adjusted income or 10% of their monthly income towards the rent, plus they pay any rent that is above the Payment Standard for the unit as established by the agency. The Housing Choice Voucher pays the difference between tenants’ portion and the contract rent. The Housing Authority pays the difference by sending the voucher payment of the subsidized rent directly to the landlord.

General eligibility requirements include low-income limits that are set by HUD and are less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI). The additional federal requirement is that at least 75% of the newly approved beneficiaries must have an income of 30% or less of AMI. Benefit levels are based on local median income and local housing costs but are set largely at the federal level with limited local discretion.

Applications for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers can be submitted to the local Housing Authority when the waiting list is open. The application form can be obtained directly from the agency or by calling and asking to be mailed. After the application is submitted there is a verification process that includes face to face interviews with an official from the Housing Authority. When approved the applicants will get a Housing Choice Voucher and are provided with a list of Section 8 listings in the area. Section 8 beneficiaries are free to choose a housing unit they like.

For specifics on the eligibility of low-income Hawaii residents for Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher please, check with your local Hawaii Public Housing Authority.

Search Section 8 listed rentals in Hawaii here

Hawaii Public Housing

Subsidized and Low-Rent Apartments

Public Housing provides safe, decent and affordable rental housing to eligible Hawaiians – low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides federal grants to States’ local Public Housing Agencies (PHA) which manage the public housing developments for low-income residents at rents they can afford.

In general, housing developments owned, managed and maintained by the local PHA are referred to as Conventional Housing, or Low Rent Public Housing and units are offered to eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities at rental rates established by the PHA authorities within the HUD income limits and guidelines.

In Hawaii, safe, decent and affordable public housing is offered and managed by Hawaii Public Housing Authority and other Hawaiian Public Housing Authorities. Rental housing for low-income Hawaiians is available in many communities across the State of Hawaii. Currently, Hawaii Housing Finance Corporation owns and operates more than 5,000 Public Housing rental units for the benefit of low-income Hawaiians.

Hawaii Public Housing rental units come in various types and sizes, and normally offer on-site management, maintenance staff, and may even include other supportive services. Normally there is a waiting list and once a unit become available the applicant is invited to a meeting with PHA officials where detailed information on the Public Housing Program is provided and the available public housing unit is offered.

As per the HUD requirements, the approved Hawaii low-income family pays a portion of their monthly income in rent, and the rest is subsidized by the HUD Public Housing grants.

Hawaiians interested in public housing rental units can inquire and apply at the local Public Housing Authority.

Housing Counseling Services

Contact one of the HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies in Hawaii State for the following education workshops or counseling services

– Fair Housing Pre-Purchase Education Workshops
– Financial Management/Budget Counseling
– Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Counseling
– Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution Counseling
– Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops
– Pre-purchase Counseling
– Pre-purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops
– Predatory Lending Education Workshops
– Rental Housing Counseling
– Services for Homeless Counseling

Hawaii – Making Home Affordable options

Making Home Affordable is a federal program designed to cover different homeowners’ hardships and financial situations. Under the program, there are various options that can help Hawaii homeowners in hardship stay in their homes. Depending on the situation Hawaii homeowners in hardship can apply to lower their monthly payments, lower the interest rate on their home loan or even get principal reduction in some cases.

There are foreclosure alternatives and temporarily help for unemployed homeowners as well.

Here are some of the most used options under the Making Home Affordable Program:

HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved housing counselor can be reached at 888-995-4673  (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9709 TTY) to help you understand your options, prepare your application, and work with your mortgage company.

Hawaii Homeless Service Organizations

If you are homeless in Hawaii and need help – call the listed homeless service organization in your area.

Emergency Shelters 

Family Life Center (Maui)  – 808-877-0880
Family Promise of Hawaii (Oahu) – 808-548-7478
H-5 Hawaii Helping the Hungry Have Hope (Oahu) – 808-922-4790
Institute for Human Services (Oahu) 808-537-2724 (Men) – 808-845-7052 (Women & Children)
Kauai Economic Opportunity (Kauai) – 808-245-4077
Maui Economic Concerns of the Community (Maui) –  808-242-7600
Office for Social Ministry (Hawaii) –  808-935-3050
River of Life Mission (Oahu) – 808-680-0823
Salvation Army, Maui (Maui) – 808-871-6270
Waianae Community Outreach at Kalaeloa (Oahu) – 808-696-5667

Find more…

Hawaii Low-Rent Apartments

Find more and search for Hawaii subsidized and low-rent apartments here.