HONOLULU (KHON2) – Households in Honolulu that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are receiving assistance in the form of $ 500 payment cards.
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The city uses pre-existing lists to determine who gets the $ 500 cards. The list includes 4,000 residents who have applied and qualified for help related to the city’s COVID.
Honolulu Office of Economic Revitalization director Amy Asselbaye said the cards are expected to reach households by December 7 and that they will have until December 27 to use those funds before the expiration of the CARES law money.
âOur household hardship assistance was one of the main programs we pull these names for, so if you have received funding through this program you should expect to receive a card in the mail,â said Asselbaye. âOtherwise, we don’t allow people to apply to be able to use the card because we have a very strict schedule. “
In addition to the strict card usage schedule, the $ 500 can only be used to purchase food and essentials at grocery and convenience stores.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell said there are restrictions on how the card is spent. The card cannot be used to purchase bus passes or gift cards.
âSpend it appropriately,â Caldwell said. “To buy food, not to buy alcohol and not to buy tobacco.”
The card uses a certain merchant code which does not apply to farmers’ markets.
However, local farmers like Aloun Farms can see a runoff effect. General manager Alec Sou said their fruits and vegetables can be found in most grocery stores.
âWe know people will go to the store and definitely make family vacation meals and hopefully with some encouragement they will focus on local produce,â Sou said.
The city’s new program focuses on food and basic necessities, but Caldwell said it could be the start of a new way to deliver aid quickly and directly to residents.
âThis card will be used in the future,â Caldwell said. âIt could be a card you give to the homeless to buy food. It could be a card given to people when a hurricane arrives to stock up on food for 14 days. ”
For more information on who will receive a card later this week, click here.