March 30, 2020
A place to heal for those with COVID-19
To our loyal friends and supporters,
Mahalo for your care and concern over the past few weeks as the coronavirus situation has begun to escalate here on Oahu. I hope you are each staying safe and making the best of this situation.

In these past few weeks, IHS has worked around the clock to prepare for coronavirus within Oahu’s houseless community. Although no homeless individuals have tested positive for the virus, we have taken critical steps to ensure that when someone does, we are ready. 

This week, in collaboration with the City and County of Honolulu, Department of Health, Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hui (H4), and Local 5, we will open a Temporary Quarantine Center (TQC) for homeless individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting results. The center is across the street from our Women’s and Family Shelter in Iwilei and can care for up to 52 individuals at any given time. IHS will receive referrals of clients through the State of Hawaii CARES hotline, provide case management services, and offer 24/7 onsite coordination of operations. H4 will provide clinical treatment and COVID-19 testing. Local 5 will provide housekeeping, food service and security. Together, we've been planning, coordinating, and mobilizing for the building's rapid re-launch this week.
We will be doing additional outreach to our unsheltered homeless. IHS Outreach will be providing food, hygiene and other essentials to help this group shelter in place. We will also help H4 test those who are unsheltered for COVID-19 so we can identify and separate ill individuals rather than allowing them to weaken on the streets.

Some additional measures that we have taken to protect our guests and the community include:

  • Implemented daily temperature checks and assessments of all guests, staff, and visitors across our nine shelters 

  • Created a separate “Kupuna Dorm” to separate our most vulnerable seniors from our other shelter guests, which include many children and working parents

  • Developed new spacing protocols to enable social distancing in our dorms and our dining halls

  • Identified and isolated several patients with fever or other minor illnesses. Referred individuals as needed to Queens Medical Center for further assessment and follow their care.

  • Established greater capacity for tele-health for our clients who need ongoing behavioral health services, case management and housing support

  • Increased urgency to house qualified people as quickly as possible

  • Expanded community outreach to known encampments and other locations to identify and educate high risk individuals 

  • Advocated to keep public bathrooms open to allow for more houseless individuals to shelter in place.

Our work continues to expand as the situation on Oahu and in our shelters evolves. We’ll keep you updated regularly on new developments. Below are two links to more in-depth coverage of the work we are doing. For real-time updates, follow us on Facebook or Instagram .

With Aloha,

Connie Mitchell
Executive Director | IHS, The Institute for Human Services
IHS in the news
Keeping you informed of our breaking news and our efforts to put your donations to work is a priority. IHS' website news section features blogs that offer insights on the issue of homelessness in Hawaii as well as recent headlines.

Read more about the new quarantine center in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Listen to this interview with Executive Director Connie Mitchell from The Advertiser's Covid Care Conversation, which takes place daily on Facebook Live at 10 am.
Five ways to help Oahu's vulnerable
Donate money. Now more than ever, funding ensures we have the staffing and supplies to adequately serve the community. 

Donate goods. We are looking for personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, bottled water or juice and large bags of rice. For the new temporary quarantine center, we are also looking for "smart" TVs, reading materials or games to help pass time more quickly for those in care or recovery. View our detailed wish list here

Volunteer.  Volunteers can serve meals in our kitchen or assemble grab-and-go meals.  Volunteer nurses, medical students or other community members can help with basic health assessments of staff and guests.

Work for Us. We are hiring temporary and permanent front-line staff positions. Visit our website to apply. 

Share our Work. Forward this email and encourage others to sign up for updates on the IHS website .
We are all in this together
During these times of great uncertainty, IHS' mission expands. Those we serve are on the streets, in shelters and in transition to a home to call their own.

You are so important to us and may be facing hardship too. If you or those you know are at-risk for losing housing or are on the brink of a crisis for food or supplies, contact us at