An application period opened Monday for a federally funded buyout program for people who owned undeveloped or vacant property on the Big Island affected by the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano.

It runs through Oct. 31 and the maximum grant award for eligible property is $22,000. Hawaii County has information about how to apply on its website.

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More than 450 applications from owners of primary and secondary residences affected by the eruption are being processed, according to a county news release.

Buyouts of five lava-impacted properties were completed in June. After buyouts are completed, the properties are owned by the county and used for open space.

Owners of eligible primary and secondary homes can receive up to $230,000. The purchase amounts are based on the 2017 pre-eruption, appraised market value.

The voluntary buyout program is funded with just over $107 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to County Disaster Recovery Officer Douglas Le.

Applications are still being accepted for eligible primary and secondary homes and long-term rentals during the current period.

The home Kent Andersen built by hand catches fire as lava bursting out of the earth in Kilauea volcano’s lower east rift zone oozes across Pohoiki Road. Courtesy: Kent Andersen/2018

For owners of undeveloped or vacant property, county officials warn that buyout funds are running out.

“Unfortunately, it’s likely we won’t be able to serve everyone that applies with the limited grant funds,” said Julie Leialoha, program manager for the buyouts.

“As we begin Phase 3, eligible primary and secondary homes will be served first; and undeveloped properties will be served based on the availability of remaining funds and ranked by program criteria.”

The buyout program requires at least 70% of funds go to low- or moderate-income households.

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