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Federal Funds to Help COVID Mitigation Efforts Among Homeless, Incarcerated Populations

July 23, 2021, 11:00 AM HST
* Updated July 23, 9:45 AM
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Hawai‘i is set to receive more than $3 million in federal funding to help detect and prevent potential COVID-19 outbreaks among the state’s most vulnerable and high-risk communities – including people experiencing homelessness and prison populations.

The funding is part of the American Rescue Plan and provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“As Hawai‘i experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, we can’t leave vulnerable communities behind in our efforts to stop the spread of this virus,” said US Senator Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new federal funding will help make sure homeless shelters and correctional facilities have the resources and support they need to keep people safe and healthy.”

Funding includes $1.44 million for shelters for people experiencing homelessness, group homes, and other congregate settings. The Hawai‘i State Department of Health will use this funding to hire workers to coordinate resources, develop strategies, and support community partners to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness and residents of congregate settings including group homes and encampments.

The funding will also be used to supply these vulnerable communities with COVID-19 tests and other mitigation resources like handwashing stations, hand sanitizer, and masks.

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The funding also includes $1.75 million for federal, state, and local prison populations. This funding will allow confinement facilities – including prisons, jails, and juvenile confinement facilities – to implement COVID-19 diagnostic and screening programs for people who are incarcerated, staff, and visitors.

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The funds can also support other mitigation efforts – including COVID-19 contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine strategies, infection control practices, and education and training on ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19 for facility staff and people who are incarcerated or detained.

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