The City and County of Honolulu expects to spend all $387 million of its CARES Act money by the end of this month, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced on Friday.

All of the money has been allocated, which means there is a plan for how to spend it. According to the city’s COVID-19 dashboard, 81% of the funds are committed, meaning contracted out, and 43% has been actually spent.

“The money will be spent according to our recovery plan: Creating a COVID-safe economy, helping people and businesses get back on their feet, and developing new opportunities for a post-COVID-19 economy,” the mayor said in a statement.

Among the efforts that have been funded so far are:

  • The $25 million Household Hardship Relief Fund. So far, about $11 million has been distributed to households in need, according to the Department of Community Services, and 5,700 applicants have benefitted. Qualified households can receive up to $2,500 a month toward housing, childcare, medical costs, and other emergency expenses. People experiencing COVID hardship are urged to apply at
  • The nearly $126 million Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund. Grants have helped about 6,000 local businesses to pay rent and cover qualified emergency expenses, according to the city. All funds are expected to be spent by next week.
  • The integrated testing laboratory at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. With $16 million in CARES funds, the lab is offering 42,000 COVID-19 tests, contact tracing capabilities, reporting software, personnel, swabs, and equipment, according to the city. The city said the facility can process up to 10,000 tests a day.
  • A COVID-19 testing center at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. Up to $4 million is being invested to provide free tests in collaboration with all seven of Oahu’s community health centers. If you need a test, visit for a list of sites.
  • Up to 452 hotel rooms for isolation and quarantine services for residents. Rooms can also be used by the city’s first responders who may have come into contact with a positive COVID-19 patient, according to the city.

The Honolulu Police Department has also received over $30 million, over half of which has been spent on overtime. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on ATVs and new trucks. CARES money has also been spent to expand HPD hours for gun permitting and registration.

At least $5 million of the overtime money has been spent on the COVID-19 enforcement team. Officers have issued thousands of criminal citations to alleged pandemic rulebreakers, including many to unsheltered and mentally ill homeless people. In the vast majority of pandemic-related cases, prosecutors are refusing to file charges.

Civil Beat has been collecting CARES spending data from City Council briefings and public records requests. Here is the latest data we have: 


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