Securing and maintaining a safe place to call home is a vitally important basic need that has been highlighted throughout the pandemic. As part of its COVID emergency response, the Foundation provided grants to four organizations— Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, Family Life Center, Ka Hale A Ke Ola, and Maui Economic Opportunity—who stepped up in the early days of the crisis to provide a combination of emergency shelter, case management, and emergency rental assistance for people facing housing insecurity. Through the Maui Homeless Alliance, the organizations work in concert to find solutions to homelessness, including for people who may not qualify for federal housing programs, allowing more people to achieve safety and stability.

The COVID-19 crisis has also highlighted the barriers that keep many households from accessing nutritious food. Hawaii kupuna were at particular risk when congregate meal sites, senior centers, and adult day centers shut down during the pandemic. The Kupuna Food Security Coalition brought together government, nonprofit meal providers, the private sector, and groups like AARP and Kanu Hawaii to use available data and quickly map out the areas of Oahu with high rates of older adults living in poverty. Of particular concern were kupuna with physical limitations and a high risk of health complications related to COVID-19 that would have difficulty accessing and preparing food.

With a spirit of cooperation, all the participating service providers shared their food delivery information and coordinated to reduce duplication and expand resources as far as possible. The Foundation’s $100,000 grant to the Kupuna Food Security Coalition will further support this collaborative work and improve services to kupuna over the long term by sharing best practices and up-to-date data on where food resources are most needed.