HONOLULU—Hawaii Moving Ahead presented Helping Hands Hawaii (HHH) with a check for $50,000 to support its Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) at the Community Clearinghouse yesterday. EAP provides emergency financial assistance to households that are at risk of homelessness and individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness and into permanent housing, such as private rentals.

EAP Donation

Helping Hands Hawaii staff with Hawaii Moving Ahead Executive Director James M. Boersema at the Community Clearinghouse. Front row: Emergency Assistance Program Housing Case Manager Danica Iglesias, Emergency Assistance Program Manager Kristine Garabiles, Community Clearinghouse Supervisor Maria Vuong; Back row: Community Clearinghouse Driver Russell Lupera, SNAP Program Specialist Nichole Alatasi, Emergency Assistance Program Eligibility Worker Robert Locklear, Hawaii Moving Ahead Executive Director James M. Boersema, Representative Payee Gina Lista, Representative Payee Rubbie Saena, Case Management Team Leader Samantha Peel, Representative Payee Assistant Taz Gample, SNAP Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordination Program Manager James Li, President and CEO Jan Harada

Helping Hands Hawaii staff with Hawaii Moving Ahead Executive Director James M. Boersema at the Community Clearinghouse

"Honolulu definitely has some serious issues with housing at this time, and we hope that this contribution will help improve the lives of the people in our community," said Hawaii Moving Ahead Executive Director James M. Boersema. Under the direction of Boersema and Executive Director Robert Fishman, Hawaii Moving Ahead focuses on the future welfare of Honolulu and its people and supports other organizations, programs and activities in the community.

"Hawaii has one of the nation's largest percentages of households that are cost-burdened renters," said Jan Harada, President and CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii. "This means families are spending more than 30 percent of their household income on their housing (rent, utilities and transportation). Coupled with the lack of affordable rentals for everyone from 120 to below 30 percent of the area median income (AMI), an unexpected donation like this is a huge
blessing for us and the people we work to serve. Helping to prevent homelessness as well as to re-house the homeless requires the support and participation of not just HHH but the broader community, including all of our many community partners (public, private and the non-profit sector) and donors like Hawaii Moving Ahead."

To be eligible for EAP, clients must provide evidence that they experienced an unexpected emergency situation that was beyond their control, such as, but not limited to, layoff from employment, medical hardship, death of an income earner or extended homelessness. Due to this emergency, the client is behind on payments and is facing eviction or cancellation of services. Or, for homeless clients, they are unable to afford the rental deposit, first month's rent
and/or utility deposit to move into permanent housing despite being able to show capacity for future financial self-sufficiency.

As part of the program, clients participate in a financial literacy course, using curriculum developed by community partner organization Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), that teaches them basic concepts to help them manage their household budgets. 

In 2015, the EAP has helped 251 households with 850 individuals, including 377 children, by providing $333,783.93 in financial assistance. The amount each client receives depends on their specific circumstance, but financial assistance has ranged between $200 and as high as $3,000. The program is supported by a number of public and private funding sources that work together to allow us to reach as many households as possible.

Click here to learn more about Hawaii Moving Ahead. 

Click here to learn more about Helping Hands Hawaii.

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