Insights & Stories

Where to Find Covid-19 Assistance Resources in Hawaii

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November 30th, 2020

[This resource guide last updated November 30, 2020.]

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, our community has shown its resilience. People across Hawaii have responded to the challenge of coronavirus and stay-at-home orders by stepping up to stay safe, stay strong and take care of one another. But many people across the state are still struggling, with thousands unemployed and facing financial hardship.

Fortunately, as the situation evolves, support continues to be available. Many government and nonprofit agencies are working together to bring relief to Hawai'i families, ranging from direct cash assistance to help with food, housing and utilities. Here's an updated list of some of the programs you can turn to for help, including Bank of Hawaii's programs to assist mortgage and loan holders in need. (Note that the availability of each of the programs in this guide may be dependent on the current level of funding and level of public demand.)

Basic Needs

Aloha United Way: If you know you're struggling but aren't sure what kind of help would be most beneficial, start with Aloha United Way's COVID-resources dashboard, which lists a wide variety of assistance programs, from child care help, to rental relief and financial support. Or call 211 to speak with an operator who can talk with you about your situation and refer you to the programs that can help.

Child Care Connection Hawaii: The state has relaxed its requirements for this program, which provides a child care subsidy to eligible families.

Rent or Mortgage Assistance

HOPE Services Hawaii: Eligible households can qualify for up to $2,000 in a one-time payment for rent or mortgage assistance.

Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement: If you are Native Hawaiian, you may qualify for the Kahiau Assistance Program, which offers financial assistance for mortgage or rent payments and utility services.

Catholic Charities Hawaii: This nonprofit is offering rental assistance to eligible households, as well as financial assistance for utility bills or other basic needs such as buying groceries.

Family Promise Hawaii: Families in need can receive rent relief, housing assistance, re-housing, temporary shelter and access to a drop-in day center offering internet, showers, and laundry facilities, as well as food and hygiene products.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): You may be eligible to receive food from the federal government (in Hawaii, this program is administered by the Department of Human Services). To check your qualifications and apply, visit the program's website.

Hawaii Food Bank: Register online for one of the food bank's upcoming pop-up food distribution events, or download a list of partner agencies offering food assistance on Oahu and Kauai.

Maui Food Bank: To find out where you can pick up food assistance on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai, check out the food bank's interactive map of food distribution sites.

The Food Basket: Check out this agency's 'Ohana Food Drop Schedule for a list of food distribution events around Hawaii Island, or download a list of participating food pantries and soup kitchens in both East and West Hawaii.

YMCA of Honolulu: Free, healthy grab-and-go lunches are distributed Monday through Friday to children in need.


Hawaiian Electric Co.: HECO is offering a variety of payment assistance options for customers in need, including the ability to repay overdue amounts over several months, and a one-time credit to offset household energy costs.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: This program provides one-time assistance to help Hawaii families in need pay their electric or gas bill.

Spectrum®: The internet provider continues to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, which provides low-cost, high-speed internet to households in need.

Financial Assistance

Unemployment Insurance: You can get information and start an application on the State of Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations website. Check out this fact sheet, which answers frequently asked questions about unemployment insurance during the outbreak.

Hawaii Financial Assistance Program: This federal program offers assistance to needy families with children (or expecting a child) and provides parents with job training, work and support services that help them to become self-sufficient.

Helping Hands Hawaii: This nonprofit's Emergency Assistance Program provides up to $2,000 per family to help cover rent, mortgage, utilities, and childcare, with an another $500 available if needed for additional childcare expenses.

Legal Aid Society of Hawaii: If you're having a hard time figuring out how to qualify or apply for various types of government assistance, check out the society's self-help page for information on public benefits.

Hawaiian Community Assets: This nonprofit is offering emergency loans of up to $5,000 for Hawaii residents in need, as funding allows. Applicants must provide proof of income and receive financial counseling to qualify.

Goodwill Hawaii: If you have been recently displaced or furloughed from work due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, Goodwill Hawaii can assist with applying for benefits such as unemployment benefits, emergency financial aid and health insurance coverage.


Whatever hardship your family might be facing, remember that you are not alone. By reaching out for help you can get the support you need, and our community will get through this crisis, together. And, if you're in a position to help out others, consider making a donation to the Hawaii Resilience Fund, which has made more than $12 million in grants to community organizations to support all those who have been affected by COVID-19.

Reference or mention herein of any business or organization does not constitute nor imply endorsement, recommendation or promotion by or of Bank of Hawaii.

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