Community Problem Solving

COVID-19 + Women*

in Hawaiʻi:


Please do not alter this section

This is an open document intended for the community and facilitated by the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women. *This document is meant to center women, non-binary, femme identified, and women aligned people, thus seeking to be as inclusive as possible.

The vulnerability of women to disasters is well-documented and women’s powerful community-building roles place them at the forefront of crisis and recovery (Enarson & Marrow, 1998). These uncertain times are an important moment to assert women’s power and create a gender just response that holds our communities accountable to women, especially the most marginalized. This document needs your voice to 1) collect information on the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls; 2) identify unmet needs and gaps for rapid fire response and 3) shape a recovery plan that centers women.


Please only add and edit your own comments; do not delete the comments of others.  This will help us keep a record of the impacts on women throughout the crisis.

For people who want to alert us to needs:

Please list urgent, unmet needs that you have identified among women in your community and include:

  • Specifics of the need
  • Date that need was observed
  • Your name and where you’d like to be contacted

For people seeking to help:

  • Scan the document for action needed in your area
  • Add your name + contact info under the need and the action you plan to take (for example, I will collect 50 tampon boxes)
  • The Commission will follow up with you that day

The Commission will be actively tracking this document on a daily basis and assisting with logistics, information and advocacy.

See end of document for resolved needs



  1. Supplies
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Essential workers
  • Community Birth Workers (ie Doulas) - Tanya J./ Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Staff, ACOs/inmates (HSCSW - Women’s COVID Weekly Call 4.1.20)
  • Quantity?
  • Doula Community- 100
  • Midwives- pending
  • Community Workers- Case managers/Home visitors- 100
  • Women’s Community Correctional Center (4/9/20)
  • 472 masks needed for 236 women inmates at WCCC
  • Khara and Rebecca of Coronacare working to meet the need
  • WCCC has placed order for 1) 900 masks for staff and 2) 500 cloth masks but no order for inmates so will take donations coordinated with the Commission
  • 236 masks  
  • Hawaii Home Birth Collective (4.11.20)
  • For Midwives & birthing family members: 50-100 N95 or N99 masks
  • Mieko Aok - If possible, asap, shipped to her home (email Laney for details) (4.16.20):
  • 5-8 masks, any kind from disposables to washables
  • Large alcohol wipes - 3-5 boxes or dispensers, can also be bottles
  • Non-latex gloves (Size S) - 1-2 boxes
  • Rachel L Curnel Struempf  (email Laney for details) (4.16.20):
  • 1-2  boxes L non-sterile gloves
  • 1 box of surgical masks
  • 2 large bottles of rubbing alcohol
  • 4.21.20: Advised to reach out to HMHBs re distribution of PPE supplies
  1. Tech
  • Four laptops needed a/o April 5, 2020

For school needs, I just had a phone call from a grandmother  asking if there are any laptops available for grandchildren attending Aliamanu Elementary and Middle Schools, and one from Moanalua High School, they can do school/educational work at home , adding 39 more  laptop computers or devices needed thus students are able to do  school work (i-ready, online social studies and science) at home, to avoid going out to and from school  picking up paperwork and dropping off after they’re done with their school assignments.   Today’s date, 4/14/20 Gloria Lani,

  • Feminist COVID Response Team creating tech intake and distribution program
  • Phones, minutes, Ipads, computers for unsheltered and DV survivors  (HSCSW 4.1.20 - Women’s Weekly Call)
  • Dr. Kealoha Fox to lead on response
  1. Abortion providers
  • Laurie F to check if abortion providers need PPE
  1. Childcare
  • Free childcare for essential workers is needed immediately
  • 3.24.20 - DOE extended spring break school closure and date of second extension to April 30
  • 3.23.20 - Shelter-in-place order and work from home
  • Free or Tuition Assistance Sites (HSCW 4.9.20)
  • Up to 100% based on need but case-by-case basis only.  Apply to see if you qualify.
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) - emergency law for COVID that sunsets in December 2020
  • Summary can be found here (HSCSW 4.9.20)
  • Does it really allow anyone to take paid leave? No, mostly symbolic emergency measure
  • Guidance from U.S. Senate is  too broad
  • DHS Dir. Pankaj stated DHS applied for $11.3 million for childcare but Office of Child Care must approve it and no date yet a/o April 9, 2020
  • UPDATE 4.14.20: DHS/BESSD/Childcare Program Press release on updated Childcare Connection Hawaii Subsidies (HSCSW 4.15.20)
  • Temporary lift monthly growth limits, temp hold spot if parent lost essential job, case-by-case temp lift of co-pays, subsidy will hold spot until facility reopens

Housing Needs

  1. Rental assistance and utility payments for sex trade survivors (HNP; May 6)
  2. Blankets, pillows, and pillow cases, sheets (for families at Waianae temporary shelter) Gloria Lani
  3. Shelters for transwomen
  1. PACT - Ohia Shelter on Windward side is FORGE trained
  1. Shelters that are not congregate for unsheltered women with infants (high risk), domestic violence victims, and sex trafficking victims
  1. DOH and city are looking into hotels as of 3/25/20
  2. Exploratory group led by HSCSW 3/26/20
  1. 200 rooms total needed
  1. HSCSW coordinating with DHS to fund initial set of rooms 4/6/20; federal funding won’t arrive for 6-8 weeks
  2. CFS DV shelters are screening callers for COVID19 symptoms; turning away symptomatic victim to hospitals due to high risk individuals (i.e., infants) in the communal shelters a/o 4/10/20

Information Needs

  1. Guidance on new federal laws locally
  2. Translation of city and state gov’t orders
  3. Notary Services for Marshallese community
  • Gloria Lani
  1. Info on emergency food bank state wide
  • Gloria Lani
  1. Medicines such as tylenol for children and adults
  • Gloria Lani
  1. How does partial unemployment insurance work? Need an FAQ in accessible language, not government parlance. 3/29/20
  2. Cws has cancelled all visits because of coronavirus— when will this resume? Relationship
  3. HYCF isn’t allowing service providers
  4. Are handmade facemasks PPE for health workers?
  • Guidance from CDC: In settings where facemasks are not available, healthcare personnel might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect healthcare personnel is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.
  1. Federal Stimulus Monies - Eligibility & enrollment information? (HSCSW 4.1.20 - Women’s Weekly Call)
  • 4.15.20 - First roll-out of stimulus monies received by some
  1. List of childcare available for essential workers and costs (request 4/3/20)
  • PATCH to publish list on Wednesday, April 8. Laney from CSW will obtain and share publicly
  • HCAN keeps a running list of places offering childcare:
  1. COFA Migrants and immigrants - need guidance on costs for COVID-19 care
  • Where can they get free testing?
  • Will they be responsible for hospitalization costs?
  • Per MedQuest - (HSCSW 4.7.20)
  • Eligible (Normally):
  • Aged, blind, permanent disability, pregnant (temporary), 65+
  • Eligible (COVID-19)
  • No formal policy regarding waived costs yet
  • If not above, they can apply for insurance through the Federal Market Place
  • If have symptoms, don’t wait. go to hospital and get treatment
  • Hospital will help them apply for insurance
  • After testing quarantine self per health care’s advice (15 days)
  • Apply
  • Online
  • Customer Service Phone: 1-800-316-8005
  • TTY users, call 1-800-603-1201 toll-free or 711
  1. Sheltering in Place Guidance - Cleaning, social distancing specifically for shelters (HSCSW 4.1.20 - Women’s Weekly Call)
  1. Disaggregated data on COVID data re to race/ethnicity esp Black and  -Akiemi 4/15
  2. Furloughs - do not cut teachers to 80% time because affects parents; disproportionate impact on special education kids and services, cannot regain lost time- Robin HCRC 4/15
  3. DHS should make payment should be direct to childcare providers not to parents. If parents are still working at all, they should be eligible for some kind of assistance for kids up to 13 or special needs up to 18 - Kathleen
  4. Family planning funding to under/uninsured individuals cut off from insurance bc of dv or unemployment and need supplemental budget had this funding but unlikely to go forward;
  5. No abortion on Maui;

Advocacy Needs

  1. Rent freeze and mortgage freeze for at least 90 days.
  •  ⅓ of women in Hawaii already struggle to pay rent pre-crisis (Appleseed)
  • Legal issues
  • Need letter from Mayor Caldwell calling for rent and mortgage forgiveness (request 4/3/20).
  1. Employer is expecting teleworking employees to maintain normal levels of productivity while also caregiving for children at home from school— need to know rights
  2. Assistance with unemployment filing
  • Flagged by Marshal Islands Consulate (HSCSW  4/9/20)
  1. New Unemployment Insurance Form does not include COFA status (3/26/20)
  • RESOLVED so they are unable to complete the forms.  There is a section that asks about citizenship, so when you click "no" you are required to enter an "Alien Reg. No." which they do not hold. DLIR contacted on 3/26/20
  1. Domestic violence postings at Essential Services
  • Request from DVAC for help information at essential businesses (grocery + pharmacy) (HSCSW 4.1.20)
  1. Stop landlords and sexual exploitation
  • PARTIAL RESOLVED: Increased reports to HSCSW observed 4/4/20-4/9/10; Step by step guidance resource created by HSCSW and disseminated publicly 4/8/20; KITV and international coverage
  1. Clarify and limit Oahu and Kauai curfew, which goes into effect 4/10/20
  • RESOLVED Chief Ballard and Mayor must publicly clarify that help-seeking women are exempt and will not be interrogated or harassed by law enforcement; law enforcement trained on resources and end curfew after Easter/no curfew extension
  • Historically 10-15% of dc victims on O’ahu flee during the curfew hours
  • HSCSW letter to Mayor Caldwell and HPD 4/10/20
  • WLC confirmed they will clarify exemption of victims and ask for end to curfew  4/11/20
  • City announces no curfew extension 4/13/20
  1. Flight vs. Travel
  • Transwoman fleeing domestic violence took flight to Oahu on 4/10 to escape; told by authorities to go to hotel airport or go to jail; no trauma-informed process or support for women traveling interisland without place to stay
  • Online fundraised $1,120 in one day for survivor
  • Need HSCSW to fix system failure 4/11/20
  1. Maternal death rate doubling
  • Surge in demand for home births by women who are not ideal candidates -HHBC/Lori Kimata 4/9/20
  • Need 100 n95 masks for midwives -HHBC 4/9/20


Available Mutual Aid & Community Care:

  1. Diaper bank (Through Aloha Diaper Bank)
  2. Cribs for needy families through an outline class format (Healthy Mothers Health Babies - HMHB)
  3. Smoking Cessation for Pregnant women and their families (HMHB)
  4.  New Parent Support meeting online via Zoom (HMHB)
  5. Telehealth- therapists for mental health support as well as lactation support (HMHB)
  6. New text feature for domestic violence victims available from Domestic Violence Action Center a/o 3/25/20
  1. If victim is quarantined/shelter-in-place with abuser and it’s unsafe to call, they can text (605)-956-5680(605) 965-5680 605-965-
  1. Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking (HWF)[a]

We just launched The future we want/demand to live in - Hawaiʻi Women and Girls Video Storytelling Initiative .Registration is now open for our free and online Summer Reel Camp for Girls

Environmental Justice / Summer Reel Camp for Girls / June 8-13, 2020 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm; and

Reproductive Justice / Summer Reel Camp for Girls / July 27- August 1, 2020 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm

  1. Childcare for Essential Workers:
  1. IMUA Family Service offering free childcare for essential workers on Maui: 808-244-7467 (Kathleen Algire, 3.25.20)

Kama‘aina Kids to Provide Emergency Child Care

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.



Aikahi Preschool

38 Kaneohe Bay Dr.

Kailua, HI 96734

6 am to 6 pm

Max Capacity: 20 students

Ewa Preschool

91-1841 Fort Weaver Rd.

Ewa Beach, HI 96701

6 am to 6 pm

Max Capacity: 20 students

King St. Preschool

1054 S. King St.

Honolulu, HI 96814

7 am to 5:30 pm

Max Capacity: 30 students

Mililani Tech Park Preschool

345 Kahelu Ave.

Mililani, HI 96789

6 am to 6 pm

Max Capacity: 20 students

St. Timothy's Preschool

98-939 Moanalua Rd.

Aiea, 96701

6 am to 6 pm

Max Capacity: 20 students

Online registration open only

for Oahu sites.



Hilo Woman's Club

7 Lele St.

Hilo, 96720

Call 808-315-0842 to register

Kahului Preschool

50 S. Papa Ave.

Kahului, 96732

Contact Alyson to register

  1. Language access:
    Department of Health information on COVID-19 (scroll to bottom)
  1. Darlene Ewan requesting to be translated in ASL (3.24.20)[b][c][d][e][f]

  1. Landlord / Tenant
  1. What to do if landlord pressure sex for rent during COVID-19: Online Guide (HSCSW 4.8.20)

Medical Testing and Treatment:

  1. Testing sites available for free
  2. Drive -Thru COVID-19 testing (HSCSW 3.27.20)
  1. City partnering with Premier Medical Group Hawai`i and MUST show symptoms to test
  2. Drs present to assess before taking test
  3. More information, call (808) 304-8816 or (808) 367-6020
  1. April 1st, Ka`a`ahi Woman and Family Shelter, 909 Kaamahu Place, across the Institute for Human Services’ will open for testing for homeless individuals working with IHS and Premier Medical Group Hawai`i (HSCW 3.27.20)

Adult Day Care

  1. Molokai:  Nā Pu‘uwai, 604 Maunaloa Highway, Building C, Kaunakakai  96748


  2. Iodine conference


  1. What is the plan for child care for essential workers now that DOE schools are closed until April 30?
  • There is no plan. Essential workers find their own care as of now. (-Kathleen Algire 3.25.20)
  1. A special package put in place to ensure women and young people formerly engaged and exploited in the sex industry receive the same level of support as other people whose employers are forced to suspend operations
  2. Does the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)  apply to non-profits?
  • Yes, except non-profits with over 500 employees and those with 50 or less can apply for hardship exemption thru federal DOL (- Kathleen Algire 3.25.20)
  • 3.26.20: U.S. Dept of Labor, Wage and Hour Div. (WHD) related to COVID-19 provided [g]guidance on emergency family medical and paid sick leave in posters/fact sheets for federal and all other employees (HSCSW 3.27.20)
  • Snippet of FFCRA (for all, but federal employees)  (HSCSW 3.27.20)
  • Employers (ER) to provide employees (EE) 1) Paid Sick leave and 2) Expanded family and medical leave related to COVID-19 from April 1 to December 31, 2020
  • Eligible: EEs of ERs w/fewer than 500 EEs, certain public sector ERs
  • EEs must work for ER at least 30 days prior to taking leave
  • ER provides to EE:
  • Up to 2 weeks/80 hours for full time (part time’s two week hours worked) paid sick leave
  • 100% pay if leave related to self-care for health/quarantine/isolation
  • ⅔ pay if leave related to caregiving  
  • Up to 12 weeks paid sick leave/expanded family & medical leave at ⅔ pay if caregiving for child
  • Part time EE eligible for leave at normally scheduled hours of work over that period
  • Job protection - right to keep job
  • EXCLUDED: Healthcare providers, emergency responders, businesses w/fewer than 50 employees if leave would jeopardize business functions
  • Enforcement: Can file complaint against ER if discharged, disciplined, discriminated against due to FFCRA leave with WHD
  • HI’s interpretation of FFCRA still pending (HSCSW 3.27.20)

Housing Resources:

  1. Medical-Legal Partnership Hawaiʻi has a rent adjustment template for those in public housing on our website that you can look at.
  2. City HONU Program - Using isolated areas (parks) for homeless to “quarantine in place” Starting at Kihei Lagoon (HSCW 4.7.20)
  1. Transportation available
  2. Pets okay, if large, muzzled
  3. Meals given twice a day, using MREs
  4. Program to assist with “stay at home” orders and allow providers safe place to assist


Housing Needs

  1. County and state park bathrooms and water valves have been shut off. Unsheltered have no facilities at last report, specifically at Kanahā Beach Park. Lisa Darcy and some other advocates are working to remedy this but may need support.

Unique impacts on women that you’ve observed:

  1. Pressures to continue supporting children with online school during these stressful times, while we are also working from home and carrying the uncertainty of our household and community on our backs.  We cannot be expected to step into a role of teacher, nor can our kids be expected to hit previously existing Department of Education benchmarks without missing a beat during these times.  [h]Need advocacy/conversations with DOE to relax standards. If they are graded on productivity over these next few weeks I fear that lower income  and immigrant families are going to suffer the most.

Child Care

  1. IMUA Family Service offering free childcare for essential workers on Maui: 808-244-7467 (Kathleen Algire, 3.25.20)






  • Micronesian Women’s Taskforce
  • FULLY RESOLVED Hand sanitizer, lysol spray and disinfectant wipes, masks for 13 Marshall Island patients and their families (approx. 26 people - mostly kids - total) in the Honolulu program; stipends for them only cover food- Per Gloria Lani; for Justin Lani, Program Director for the RMI Medical Referral Program;
  • Individual donors and Coronacare organizers provided supplies within one week. Final delivery second round of supplies completed 3/4/20

Housing Needs

  1. Marshall Islands banned travel to country from March 8 to April 5th stranded citizens housing asap. - Tamera Heine;

DHS Benefits

  1. Dept Human Services (DHS) Benefits - SNAP, TANF, general assistance w/part time work - work requirements still needed? (HSCSW 4.1.20 - Womens’ Weekly Call)
  • SNAP - Work/Education & training requirement have been waived during pandemic
  • DHS/Benefits for SNAP / TANF  - Online application now available (HSCSW 8.13.20)
  • TANF/General Assistance -Per Pohulani Processing center (HSCSW 4.7.20)
  • TANF - applicants names are sent to “First to Work Program”
  • However, no letter sent regarding registration or instructions to call
  • Names are only being sent so First to Work knows how many people are applying
  • GENERAL ASSISTANCE / Financial Assistance - If applying, still sent to CIRCA (dr to see if can work or not).
  • If can’t work for 30 hours a week for 30 days would qualify
  • IN GENERAL - all work requirements on hold until after pandemic. Check with case manager to check if changed when applying (HSCSW 4.7.20)
  • UPDATE 4.13.20: Medical-Legal Partnership, a project of William S. Richardson School of Law update on SNAP (food stamps) during pandemic.
  • All other MLP Alerts 
  • Key changes during this time include the following:
  • 1. Applications must be printed out from online and processed by mail, dropbox, email.
  • 2. Individuals can call the DHS processing center nearest them to apply by phone.
  • 3. EBT or Kokua cards are sent via mail to the address on the application and are not picked up at the DHS office.
  • 4. Work requirements have been temporarily suspended, so individuals will not be disqualified from benefits just because they are not working.
  • 5. All case reviews such as six-month review have been delayed for the time being. (Deja Ostrowski MLP (by HSCSW) 4.15.20)
  • Unemployment Benefits (UI) are taxable but won’t count as income for  CHIP or Medquest (Kathleen Algire, 4.6.20)

[a]Maybe this project can help to develop a layman language on the 2 trillion stimulus.

[b]This needs to be translated in ASL.

[c]Have you reached out to them? If not we can.

[d]Yes I have. They said they were going to revamp the website to focus on covid19.

[e]Hi Darlene, does DOH's updated website have an ASL translation?

[f]No they havent. I just learned that Kauai County developed COIVD19 in ASL. It has not been released yet. DOH and Oahu need to do the same.

[g]US Dept of Labor, Wage & Hour Division Guidance on emergency sick leave, family and medical leave.

[h]The communication I have received from my DOE elementary school is that teachers are to be prepared for students to return without having received continued education during these times. The emphasis is that any online learning is “enrichment” and not mandatory and will not be graded. This does not address childcare challenges but hopefully can alleviate some of the stress of having to suddenly learn how to teach and monitor progress, etc. Not sure if this applies to middle and high schools. I am available to help out some with online tutoring, if that would be helpful! Kate Righter,

[i]New SNAP / TANF online application available!