|To our HOPE ʻohana:|
Like you, we have been monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, and have been making adjustments to ensure we protect our participants, staff, and community the best we possibly can.
People experiencing homelessness are at an especially high risk for contracting COVID-19, because social distancing and sanitation are virtually impossible for those living on the street and in congregate shelter facilities with shared spaces. We are currently continuing all programs, including shelter operations at all eight (8) sites, Homeless Outreach, Street Medicine, and case management support for those recently housed. It is critical that we are able to continue offering these life-saving services.
Therefore, we are taking extra precautions during this time, including the following:
Homeless Outreach and Street Medicine: Our teams are literally bringing water and soap to encampments and educating people about protecting themselves and each other. We’ve laminated these cards and are sharing them with our houseless community.
Testing: A pop-up testing clinic for COVID-19 was set up at the Old Kona Airport on Monday, March 23rd. The County of Hawai`i COVID-19 Task Force teamed up with Premier Medical Group and HOPE Services Hawai`i to offer the clinic, which was supported by HMSA, Hawaii Life Flight, Ironman World Championship and Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation. Physicians conducted on-site screenings based on criteria from the CDC and the state COVID-19 Response Task Force, which included Hawai`i-specific criteria, such as employment in high-traffic tourist areas. We hope to offer more pop-up clinics in the near future, and will post updates on our Facebook page.
Shelters & Resource Centers: We have increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfecting at all sites, altered sleeping arrangements including increasing distance between people, and begun screening residents daily. We have also begun restricting visitors, with the exception of community providers who are not exhibiting symptoms, have not traveled, and have not come into contact with a known case of COVID-19.Despite the new challenges we face, there are still ways to serve the houseless commmunity. We want to give a big mahalo to the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island for delivering individually wrapped meals to 4 shelters in East Hawaiʻi. It takes a village!
Donations: Hard to get supplies like hand sanitizer, soap, cleaning supplies, and masks are accepted gratefully. All other items will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please call Joycelyn Cabal at (808) 217-2830 if you have a question about making an in-kind contribution.
Now, more than ever, we need your support to ensure that we can continue bringing live-saving services to our houseless ‘ohana. Your compassion, even during great difficulty, is the reason we can continue to serve those in our community who suffer the most.Save Lives Now
Finally, remember to be kind to yourself. Our Clinical Director, Dr. Kalani Spain, says “We are aware that the virus threatens our physical health; however, it can also negatively affect our mental health. Mental health is essential to our ability as humans to think, feel, interrelate and enjoy life’s gifts.” He recommends taking breaks from the news and social media, talking to people you trust about your concerns, and making time to unwind and do activities you enjoy.
Thank you for remembering the most vulnerable people during this difficult time. We could not do this work without you. We are all in this together.
Mahalo nui loa,
CEO, HOPE Services Hawaiʻi
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