Information & Resources: Managing COVID-19 in Hawai’i

Hawaii State Department of Health: Find the latests updates in information and resources regarding COVID-19 in Hawaii.

Statewide Stay-at-Home Order: Latests decisions and guidance on the stay-at-home order.

Resources for Food, Housing and Utilities

Aloha United Way: If you need assistance and aren’t sure where to start, call 211 for referrals to a broad range of programs, from assistance with basic needs like food and shelter, to child care and legal services.

Hawaii Food Bank: Food assistance is available at pantries and feeding programs throughout Oahu and Kauai. Check the food bank’s COVID-19 response page for a list of distribution sites that are currently open.

The Food Basket: You can call (808) 933-6030 for help obtaining food on Hawaii Island, or visit the program’s website for an update on coronavirus response and information about which pantries may be open.

Maui Food Bank: This organization distributes food to pantries and feeding programs on Maui, Molokai and Lanai. If you’re in need of food, call 211 for a referral to a participating program.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): If your income falls below a certain level, you can qualify for food assistance from the federal government. In Hawaii, SNAP is administered by the Department of Human Services; visit the program’s website for information on how to apply.

Hawaiian Electric Co.: HECO announced on March 17, 2020, that it would suspend disconnections for at least 30 days as relief for customers who are financially challenged by the pandemic. Customers who are having a hard time paying their bills are asked to contact customer service to discuss their options. Visit HECO’s COVID-19 response page for more information and tips on saving energy while working from home.

Hawaii Gas: The company announced that it will not be interrupting gas service through at least April 30, 2020, to provide relief to customers who are unable to pay their gas bill. Customers are asked to call the utility to discuss payment options.

Spectrum: Internet access has become a critical resource for getting information on the outbreak, as well as for people working from home and students doing online learning. Spectrum has said, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, it will not terminate service, and will not charge late fees for at least 60 days from that date, to assist customers who are struggling financially.

Kama’aina Kids: Kama‘aina Kids is opening up seven preschool sites on O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i Island to children (K-5) of essential employees who do not have access to child care. Limited space is available.

YMCA Grab and Go Meal Sites: Five “grab-and-go” meals distribution sites will be offered during the Hawaii public school’s extended spring break by the YMCA of Honolulu in partnership with Kapiolani Community College, the Hawaii Appleseed Center and other community groups, businesses and funders.

Financial Assistance Resources

Unemployment Insurance: If you’ve lost your job because of shutdowns, you can apply for unemployment insurance through the State of Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Officials have stated that response times may be delayed due to the high volume of claims. Check out this fact sheet, which answers frequently asked questions about unemployment insurance during the outbreak. Here’s a video on how to apply. 

Federal Student Aid Loans: If you have a federal student loan your payments will automatically stop from March 13, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020. To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose. Read the borrower Q&As below to learn more.

Mortgage Forbearance Program: As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Trump on Friday, homeowners with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 184a, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac are eligible for the loan forbearance program.Homeowners in need of relief should reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible or contact a HUD approved housing counselor.

Bank of Hawaii: Bank of Hawaii is offering two assistance programs for customers facing financial hardship because of COVID-19. The forbearance program offers loan forbearance on residential mortgages, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit for up to six months; while the extension program offers an extension of up to three months on installment loans such as personal loans and auto loans. Visit our COVID-19 financial assistance page to learn more about the programs, and how to get started. If you have a loan or mortgage with another financial institution, reach out to learn more about what kind of assistance they may be offering.

First Hawaiian Bank: First Hawaiian Bank is also offering loan assistance in the form of consumer loan deferrals and mortgage loan forbearance. Deferrals with extensions of up to three months are available for personal loans, auto loans and credit cards. For mortgage customers, First Hawaiian Bank is offering relief options designed to fit your needs, including mortgage forbearance and deferrals for up to 6 months.

The U.S. Small Business Association Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan: If you’re a small business owner currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue because of COVID-19, you may be eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. According to the SBA, funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and will not have to be repaid. Find more information here.

Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations: Resources for Nonprofits who have been impacted by COVID-19. 

Hawaii Resilience Fund can provide up to $1,000 per household: 

The purpose of the Hoʻāla Assistance Program is to provide one-time emergency financial assistance (up to $1000 per household) to Hawaiʻi residents facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HRF is made possible through a partnership between the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, and Pierre & Pam Omidyar. The program aims to provide stability to families during this emergency situation.

Honolulu Tentants Union:  Many renters are losing their jobs or suffering with reduced hours, nearly one-quarter (160,000) of Hawaiʻi’s workers, filed for unemployment last month. Over 14 thousand people have already signed a petition demanding a rent and mortgage freeze. Please call the Governor’s office at (808) 586-0034 and demand a statewide rent and mortgage moratorium.