Navatek CEO Arrested for CARES Act Fraud--Got Help from 'Senator'
OHA Elections: 'Watch out for This'
OHA Board hosts neighbor island community meetings virtually
Ige Answers Hirono on COVID Spending Transparency
Doing the Job HGEA Cannot--DLIR Contractor Launches Unemployment Call Center
COVID Count 108 new cases out of 1,817 tests
Hawaii Welfare Rolls Jump 14.5%
WHT: … the need for food assistance is high; 177,083 Hawaii residents received SNAP benefits in August, an increase of 14.5% over August 2019’s total. The DHS has approved more than 41,000 applications since April 27; of this total, 3,607 have come from West Hawaii.
The amount of recipients, however, has fallen since June’s high mark of 180,301….
Despite the increased volume of applications, most have been processed fairly quickly. The average wait time has been approximately eight days, according to the DHS, though the department’s public information officer Amanda Stevens noted some applications took up to 20 days. The process to qualify has been altered to meet the increased demand without face-to-face interviews.
“Prior to the pandemic, applicants would be able to apply in person and schedule their eligibility review in person; since the pandemic, DHS has been able to pivot and immediately utilize federal waivers to forgo in-person interviews, adhering to social distancing guidelines,” said Stevens. “Verifications were done over the phone; however, all of same standards were utilized to verify validity of claims such as interfacing with the IRS and unemployment offices and more. We were able to go from a paper form to a fillable form, and they now able to email or drop off their applications in a secure drop box. Certifications that usually would come up were waived for six months.”…
The state has also seen an increase in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits — over $2.1 million in additional assistance has been awarded from federal funds in response to the pandemic — as well as the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program designed to ensure the more than 93,500 students statewide who previously qualified for free or reduced-price lunch continued receiving those meals. P-EBT has been disbursed in two rounds: the first during the months of March, April and May, and the second for August and September….
read … Applications still up for food stamps
Big Island Food Basket is serving 80,000 people a month—Up from 14K
HTH: … This time last year, Hawaii Island’s food bank was providing assistance to about 14,000 individuals a month….Now, though, in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Executive Director Kristin Frost Albrecht said the nonprofit is helping about 80,000 people a month through its network of partner agencies, its Ohana Food Drop and other programs.
The Ohana Food Drop is the food pantry’s main pandemic program, which Albrecht said was started in March as a safe and efficient way to deliver food to people who need it.
While the drive-through pickup program started with 14 locations across the island, she said food is now distributed at 10 Big Island sites each month.
Albrecht said The Food Basket is serving between 2,000 and 3,700 individuals at each site, and nearly 80%-85% of those who come through are unemployed.
The food bank’s Kupuna Pantry, a commodity supplemental food program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was also changed to a drive-through program in March, and serves about 1,100 kupuna islandwide, Albrecht said.
Individuals have to sign up and qualify for the program, which typically provides a 40-pound box of food each month, she explained….
read … During pandemic, The Food Basket is serving 80,000 people a month
Ige: Shortage of tests means testing program for inter-island travel a ‘challenge’
HNN: … The governor said Wednesday he has no plans to lift the inter-island traveler quarantine, and acknowledged a shortage of tests locally means the pre-travel testing program for trans-Pacific visitors will likely not be extended at first to include local island hoppers.
Gov. David Ige stressed that he continues to discuss the matter with county mayors. “The challenge is access to tests. Our concern is the number of tests we currently have available,” Ige said.
“All I’m saying is that testing capacity is an issue.”
The pre-travel testing program is set to launch Oct. 15, allowing trans-Pacific travelers to skirt quarantine if they arrive with a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
But there’s no similar program for residents.
When asked about the status of a possible pilot project he had previously discussed to allow residents to get tests for inter-island travel, he said “that’s what we’re looking at” but did not elaborate….
TGI: Kawakami asks Ige to require post-arrival testing
read … Ige: Shortage of tests means testing program for inter-island travel a ‘challenge’
Wrongful death suit filed in veterans home COVID-19 death
HTH: … Big Island attorney Jeffrey Foster has filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the sons of the late Chris Drayer, who died after contracting COVID-19 at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home.
The suit, filed this morning in Hilo Circuit Court, names Noah Bennett-Drayer and Daniel Bennett-Drayer as plaintiffs. Among the defendants are Avalon Health Care, several affiliates and Avalon Regional Vice President for Hawaii Tina Irwin….
HNN: Family seeks answers on a father’s final days battling COVID-19 at veterans home
SA: Family sues Hilo nursing home operator after coronavirus-related death of Vietnam War veteran
read … Wrongful death suit filed in veterans home COVID-19 death
Additional COVID-19 fatality at Hilo veterans home brings death toll at facility to 27
HNN: … Since August, a total of 71 residents and 35 staff members at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19. One of those residents is currently hospitalized at Hilo Medical Center.
Meanwhile, officials said 38 residents and 33 employees have recovered….
SA: Trouble in another nursing home
read … Additional COVID-19 fatality at Hilo veterans home brings death toll at facility to 27
Unemployed workers in Hawaii to get $500 to spend at local eateries
HNN: … Under the $75 million program, funded with federal CARES Act dollars, those receiving jobless benefits will get a $500 “Hawaii Restaurant Card” that can be used at any eatery in the state.
It was not immediately clear if there were other eligibility restrictions.
People will not have to apply for the program but will receive it automatically in the mail.
The $500 card must be spent by Dec. 15.
Sherry Menor McNamara, president and CEO and Chamber of Commerce…
read … Unemployed workers in Hawaii to get $500 to spend at local eateries
Bill 2: So Tourists won’t be stuck in Traffic, Don’t Give the Little People Anywhere to park Their Cars
CB: … The city legislation looks to change decades-old policies and leave residents less reliant on cars. Supporters hope it might also help lower housing costs. The bill embodies years of work by city planners to encourage more pedestrian-friendly urban design.
Bill 2 was up that morning for the second of three readings needed to pass. But shortly before the hearing started, then-City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson removed it from the agenda.
Local developers remain staunchly opposed to several of its key provisions, particularly its requirement that parking spaces and residential units be sold separately on future urban projects. Records show their lobbyists have held regular talks with city leaders on the issue this summer….
read … Make way for more tourists
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