OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA and the State Department of Human Services collaborate on Native Hawaiian data related to COVID-19

HONOLULU (June 26, 2020) – OHA and the Hawaiʻi Department of Human Services (DHS) announced today a collaboration whereby DHS will share Native Hawaiian data tables from its programs with OHA to help assess the impacts COVID-19 is having on Hawaiʻi’s indigenous people.

The DHS agreed to share Native Hawaiian data relating to the following programs from January 2019 through December 2020:

  • Med-QUEST Division (MQD):  Medicaid
  • Benefit, Employment, and Support Services Division (BESSD):
    • Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP);
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) / Temporary Assistance to Other Needy Families (TAONF);
    • Child Care Subsidies (Child Care Connections, Preschool Open Doors)
  • Social Services Division (SSD): 
    • Child Welfare Services Branch (CWS);
    • Adult Protective and Community Services Branch (APCS)

“We want to extend a heartfelt mahalo to DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot and his staff for their exemplary commitment to partner with us,” said OHA CEO Sylvia Hussey. “The data they are providing is critical for us, the state and our community partners to understand the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on our beneficiaries.  This information will help ensure that state and community resources can be targeted in the most efficient way to meet the needs of Native Hawaiians.  We look forward to working with other state departments to reach similar agreements to share Native Hawaiian-specific data.”

“We are honored to share this vital data with OHA,” said DHS director, Pankaj Bhanot. “Through this community partnership, we continue to support the self-sufficiency and well-being of Native Hawaiian individuals, families, and communities throughout the state of Hawaiʻi.”

OHA plans to analyze the DHS data and report findings through the Native Hawaiian COVID-19 Research Hui. The goal of the collaboration is to gather and provide data that explore the ways Native Hawaiians have been impacted by the pandemic, the systemic conditions that place our communities at greater risk, and inform pathways for moving forward to create a new normal. The hui has already published the COVID-19 Impacts on Native Hawaiian Businesses Issue Briefin partnership with the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, the Hawaiʻi Island Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, the Kauaʻi Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, and the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce.  In addition, the hui is conducting a survey to assess local perceptions of what Hawaiʻi’s economy should look like after the pandemic.

Additional information on COVID-19 relief resources from OHA, federal and local sources are available at www.oha.org/covid19.

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