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Basic needs insecurity remains prevalent among University of Hawaiʻi students systemwide. In the last year, 3,268 UH students have searched for basic needs resources, with 17,047 searches conducted on Housing, money and food make up the highest percentage of those searches.

UH continues to address the increasing demand for resources, and expanded its first-ever Virtual Basic Needs Café this spring. The new tool, available to students outside of regular business hours, connects them to professional staff to access basic needs resources, including nutritious food, secure housing, reliable transportation, mental and physical health support, and/or financial stability support.

Previously only available at UH Mānoa and Windward Community College, the café is now available to students at Leeward CC and Hawaiʻi CC, with plans to onboard UH Hilo, Kauaʻi CC, Honolulu CC, Kapiʻolani CC, and UH Maui College in the coming weeks and plans to onboard UH West Oʻahu by the end of the summer.

Related: Basic needs insecurity, available resources highlighted in new video, July 2022

The café operates Sunday to Thursday, from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. and provides a safe and welcoming space for students. Students are also welcome to reach out to café staff via email at

“The UH Virtual Basic Needs Café was developed to help provide an alternative way for students to connect with campus resources in the evening hours, which is when we were told some students have more free time to tend to their needs after fulfilling work, family and other obligations,” said Didar Hossain a staff member with the UH Virtual Basic Needs Café and doctoral student in the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health. “Students often experience basic needs insecurity and they need appropriate resources to address these needs. The café allows students to reach out virtually to navigate the resources related to basic needs that might play a significant role in their journey of higher education,” he said.

A student who utilized the virtual cafe this semester, said “I found the resources helpful to navigate an on campus job during the summer, including the online student employment application SECE, which is a great portal for searching on campus jobs. I really appreciate [the virtual basic needs cafe] provided me with the link to a number of job searching websites.”

The Virtual Basic Needs Café is part of the work of the UH Student Basic Needs (UHSBN) Committee, formed in 2019 to address the prevalence of food insecurity and other forms of student basic needs across the 10 campuses. The committee aims to provide comprehensive support and resources to students experiencing basic needs insecurity, and includes students, staff and faculty across UH. Initiated by the committee in 2020, the UH System Student Basic Needs Master Plan sets forth priorities and action items identified by all 10 campuses across the state.

The Virtual Basic Needs Café is supported through the Stupski Foundation through a five-year, $500,000 grant is one of four UH initiatives to assist low-income and first-generation students in obtaining accessible and affordable college experiences.

On-campus/off-campus resources

A list of available resources on each UH campus, including food pantries, housing support, emergency funds and counseling services can be accessed by students by visiting the UH Student Basic Needs website.

The UHSBN also collaborates with to provide students with access to community, state and federal basic needs resources. The website launched in March 2021 and has been made available to UH students through the UHSBN site.

“The UH system recognizes that basic needs insecurity can significantly impact a student’s academic success and overall well-being. Through the efforts of the Basic Needs Committee and the availability of resources and support, the UH system hopes to ensure that every student has the opportunity to thrive,” said Albie Miles, chair of the UHSBN committee and assistant professor of sustainable community food systems at UH West Oʻahu.

basic needs graphic

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