Calls to Aloha United Way’s 211 helpline have surged 1000% as residents scramble for help on rent and utility payments.

The enormous need has spurred the nonprofit to launch the COVID-19 Rent & Utility Assistance program.

The program has $1.25 million in initial funding, and AUW estimates that will be able to help about 900 families.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented financial ripple effect in our community,” said Norm Baker, interim AUW president and CEO.

“The additional rent and utilities assistance that AUW will provide through CRUA will supplement federal funds and keep vulnerable families from slipping into homelessness.”

The nonprofit said it is hoping to get additional funds for the program.

For more information on the program, call 211 or visit AUW.org.

HNN Staff/Hawaii News Now