March 2020 - We are well-versed in addressing crises in our work to end homelessness. Yet coronavirus (COVID-19) has created new and unforeseen challenges.
Day after day, many individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness seek shelter with IHS. While it is important at this time for many families and workers to stay home, IHS will keep our doors open and continue to outreach to those who have no home. We need to ensure that as few people as possible are left on the street during this trying time.
To keep our shelters healthy and safe, we are following new health assessment and cleaning protocols, stepping up frequency of disinfection routines, setting up separate sleeping quarters for those who are at-risk, and so much more. Quelling anxiety and fear of keiki and kupuna alike with information and assurances has become a part of our daily routines.
In addition, last week we launched a street education and prevention initiative designed to educate and reach our homeless neighbors on the street. We are often their only source of help, information, and referrals to medical care. So we expanded our kuleana to include a assessment interview and temperature checks to do our part in identifying people at high risk in our community.
IHS services are essential to our island community. So much so that many people mistake us for a government agency. We are a private, non-profit organization that continues to rely heavily on your support. Your support today will provide supplies including thermometers, masks, gloves, education materials, critical staff training and volunteer mobilization to keep our doors open and our team on the front lines.
We have to move quickly. Time is critical. We must continue connecting with as many individuals as possible throughout the island and help our homeless community to understand what is at stake.
Our goal is to raise $20,000 this month, and with your help, we will get there. Our generous partner 5 Minute Pharmacy has committed to matching your donations, dollar for dollar this week, up to $10,000.
Please make a donation today and help sustain our efforts to ensure our local homeless community can access appropriate resources in response to the coronavirus.
Mahalo for your generosity.
P.S. Click on these links to read more about our work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect those who are living on the streets from this virus in these March 2020 stories: The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Civil Beat and Hawaii News Now.