VOICES: Kupuna need assistance in crisis, too

In response to the article by Stephanie Shinno in The Garden Island, Jan. 17, 2021, titled “A crisis within a crisis,” I would like to commend the county agencies, County Council and nonprofits that have joined together in the effort to house the homeless.

Much has been done in this past year, but there is much more to still accomplish.

I understand that priority has been focused on families with children, which is appropriate, but kupuna seem to be left out. The statistics show that 14% of all the homeless on Kaua‘i are kupuna, many who are raising their mo‘opuna or grandchildren in the camps.

I would like to suggest the creation of a website or digital hub that brings ALL of these entities together.

As a kupuna participant of the nationally-recognized PLTI, Parent Leadership Training Institute, I am creating a program to specifically help the keiki and kupuna in the camps as my community project.

It currently is difficult to reach out to various nonprofits and individuals working in this area. It would be helpful to know what each organization is currently focused on regarding the homeless issue, as well as contact information for each.

Also, I would like to see the leadership here on Kaua‘i reach out to Senator Schatz and Representative Kahele to tap into some of the federal monies to assist our state and county efforts. The new stimulus package provides monies focused on helping the “housed” pay their rent. I would like to see some of those funds channeled to the “houseless” community.


Barbara Penn is a resident of Wailua.

  1. C Bagley January 22, 2021 2:12 pm Reply

    We will be fully vaccinated for 3 weeks when we come to Kauai to finally get to our condo. It would make no sense for us to quarantine. We can see hving a COVID test prior to arrival to see if we are asymptomatic COVID carriers. Would someone please step forward and decide what the process for vaccinated travelers will be. Thank you!

  2. MGB January 23, 2021 6:12 am Reply

    If you have a home, condo, to go to all you have to is quarantine for 10 days. Arrange transportation to your condo from the airport and have necessities delivered to your door. 10 days is nothing.

    1. John Doe January 23, 2021 3:06 pm Reply

      Current quarantine requirements are not fair and are putting people at more risk. Below is a letter sent to the Governers office to which I still have not received a response. The people in the Mayors office said they agree with me but that the Governor will not allow the change…hummm.

      Dear Governor Ige,

      My name is XXXXX and I am a tax paying property owner on Kauai. My wife and I come to Kauai every January and we plan to arrive January XX and stay at our residence. I just discovered that even if we get a Negative COVID test and quarantine at our residence we cannot test out of quarantine after 3 days. I can see no rationale reason why we cant receive similar treatment to test out of quarantine similar to visitors staying at bubble properties. It makes no sense to me and I feel that the rule should be changed to allow property owners returning to their residence to test out of quarantine after 3 days.

      The way it stands right now there is NO benefit for me and my wife to spend $300 and receive negative COVID tests prior to our departure from the mainland to Kauai. We have to quarantine for 10 days whether we have a negative COVID test or not. I would think that ALL visitors should be required to have a negative COVID test before boarding the aircraft destine to Kauai. This is flawed logic and will place everyone on the plane in jeopardy and will potentially allow a COVID infected person to arrive in Kauai and interact with people at the Airport and between the airport and their place of residence. We will of course get tested before travel because it is the right thing to do.

      Conversely, people staying at the bubble resorts that may be COVID positive are interacting with the workers and others at the property and pose a much greater risk of spreading the infection than my wife and I quarantining at our residence and coming into contact with NOBODY!

      Please think about the logic and I respectfully request that you modify the rule to allow property owners to stay at their place of residence and test out of quarantine after 3 days similar to the bubble resort concept.

      Sincerely, John Doe

      1. Beverly Olsen January 24, 2021 10:54 am Reply

        The quarantine restrictions by the Kauai Government have been put in place for a good reason. Given that Kauai has the least number of active cases of the three major tourist islands in the state, and the fact that we are the only island of those three islands in the State to be on Tier 4 speaks for itself.
        I commend Mayor Kawakami and our Health Department for following the scientific data and keeping our Island residents safe during this time of crisis.
        The old saying “better safe than sorry “ needs to be taken seriously during this time in history.

  3. Anon Ymouse January 23, 2021 10:54 am Reply

    @C Bagley:
    The Lt. Governor this past week indicated they may adjust requirements for those vaccinated this spring. But for now, you’d have the same testing/quarantine, etc. requirements as anyone non-vaccinated. And it’s believed you still can be a carrier of the virus even if vaccinated, so please don’t be surprised by the ongoing testing/quarantine requirements.

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