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Coronavirus Update

July 10, 2020 


I sincerely hope that you, your family, and those that you care about are both safe and  healthy during these extraordinary times. I recently shared with you an update about  Hale Kipa during COVID-19 that was somewhat sobering, but I also want to share with  you something quite exciting. The Lili’uokalani Trust, in partnership with Hale Kipa, as a  specific response to COVID-19 has opened a program appropriately named Lydia’s House  in honor of the late Queen Lili’uokalani. 

As you know, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Hale Kipa has steadfastly provided services  to the youth and families in each of its programs. The work ranged from admitting youth  into Emergency Shelter and Transitional Family Homes, seeing youth/young adults in the  

community and learning to provide effective telehealth and telephonic health sessions. Many of our program participants endured financial hardships causing food and housing  insecurity. But we were fortunate to be granted funding to respond to our youth and  family COVID-19 related needs which included food, rent, utilities and distance learning  that allowed the youth to avoid homelessness and continue to meet educational goals. 

In the early days of this pandemic, Hale Kipa was selected to be Lili’uokalani Trust’s  anchor partner for their Youth Services Center (YSC) initiative. We were just starting the  partnership planning and the YSC development when the Lili’uokalani Trust decided to  respond to the pandemic’s effect on Native Hawaiians by temporarily repurposing the  facility to be able to offer transitional housing to young adults and families affected by  COVID-19. This aligned with Hale Kipa’s desire to do more for our young adults, many of  whom were at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Within six weeks and because of the amazing work done by teams of people and with  numerous generous donations, Lydia’s House was able to open 16 of its 18 apartments to  welcome 39 Native Hawaiian individuals, couples, pregnant and parenting young adults,  and some older adults with their own children or grandchildren. This was a true blessing  for all of these people who were in crisis and needed safe and secure housing to stabilize,  find respite, and access a range of opportunities to get assistance to improve financial  literacy, parenting skills, find employment, continue their higher education, make new connections and linkages, increase permanency, and be able to secure more permanent  housing by the end of this year. 

Lydia’s House truly is a partnership as well as a demonstration of what can happen when  organizations work together to pivot to respond to an emerging need. 

We are grateful and privileged to work with an organization like the Lili’uokalani Trust,  and want to thank all of those who came together in a very short period of time to be  able to open this critical resource to those we are mutually privileged to serve. While  

COVID-19 has generated many negative consequences, there has been a sense of  community and a sense of people coming together to try to respond to this crisis. I will  continue to provide you other updates over the course of the next several months, to  simply share with you stories about the work that we are doing and to continue to keep  you apprised of the challenges that our youth, young adults, and families face. 

Please remember that we are wearing masks to protect others, not ourselves. For it is our  individual personal responsibility to be a good community member and to try to do those  things that will enhance the lives of others. Wearing a mask is one of those things. And  so, during these difficult and challenging times, I hope that we are all concerned enough  about our neighbors and friends and those that live in our communities to take care of  them as well as yourself. 

I want to wish you well. Please take good care of yourself and your loved ones. 


Punky Pletan-Cross
CEO, Hale Kipa