Hawaii's Homeless: A Sheltered Life - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's Homeless: A Sheltered Life

Next Step shelter in Kakaako Next Step shelter in Kakaako
Dave Canell Dave Canell
Max Gray Max Gray
Belden Demecilio Belden Demecilio
Malaena Zales Malaena Zales

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - They're always full but with people you would not expect.

Ramsay Wharton shows us why your friend, neighbor, even coworkers might be leading a sheltered life.

Its 5:30 at night and all kinds of people are starting to check in to the Next Step shelter in Kakaako.

Inside is a sea of cubicles, temporary homes for nearly 200 people.

There're hot showers, laundry service, hot meals, a computer room, even free medical services.

Dr. Jill Omori runs a mobile clinic run by medical students who visit once a week.

And there are rules to follow here at the shelter.

The lights go out at 9 o'clock for the families so the children can get up for school.

In the back, at the end, 11 p.m. the lights go out. But there's no drinking, no fighting, and there is a 10 o'clock curfew unless you're working.

For 26 years Dave Canell supported his family as a supervisor at a local printing plant until illness cost him his job, then his home.

"Then the next thing before you know it, comes the eviction notice in the mail," he said. "You have 45 days to try and find another place."

Unable to do that, the family hit the streets.

He says his wife turned to the bottle and is still out there while he turned to the shelter and is now preparing to take the next step.

For taxpayers its cheaper to shelter the homeless than to keep them on the streets.

Public costs like police, emergency rooms, and treatment centers average about $2,800 a month/per person versus $600 for someone in supportive housing like here.

Even though these cubicles are very tiny, under state law, all residents have to spend $60 a month to stay in one.  Some residents say that actually makes them feel good, because they have to pay for it, it's not free.

H-5 Hawaii Helping the Hungry Have Hope:

Hawaii Dream Service Center:

Homeless Service Organizations:

Hawaii Housing Authority:

Ramsay's earlier stories on Hawaii's Homeless:

Part I: Life's Not a Beach

Part II: Living in the Bush

Part III: Keiki in Crisis

Part V: Transitioning Out

Part VI: A Dream Come True: Hawaii's Dream Service Center

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