Group finds success in helping homeless into housing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Group finds success in helping homeless into housing

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

When Alika lost his job, his wife, Tiffany, couldn't pay all the bills with her paycheck.

"We was actually staying with my grandma up until we could no longer stay there," Alika said. "We roughed it out a few days and tried to go with some other families. It just didn't work."

Family Promise of Hawaii rescued them. The organization has helped about 1,200 homeless on Oahu find housing. .

"We do give preference to families with one parent who is currently employed, definitely families who are willing to work," executive director Mary Saunders said.

The organization has facilities in Kailua and downtown. Clients shower, do laundry, and use computers to search and apply for jobs. They learn how to manage their finances. Everything is free of charge.

"They don't have to buy shampoo or deodorant or diapers," Saunders said. "It's really all about budgeting and saving their money to dedicate towards housing."

Family Promise partners with about 60 churches and groups that feed and shelter the families at night.

"We turned to this program. We looked it up online and we found it. It's been very helpful for me, my girl, and my kids," Alika said.

"Families have to submit pay stubs and bank balances every month and every pay period, just so that we know that they're on the right track and saving their money, and really learning the life-long skills it takes to stay housed," Saunders said.

Saunders said 80 percent of the people Family Promise has taken in since 2006 found affordable housing.

Alika is trying to get his old job back.

"If that doesn't really work out, I'm planning on trying to get into the Navy or something like that. Just trying to get ahead for the family, especially in this tough time," he said.

Alika's now in the system but 200 other people are on the waiting list.

Family Promise needs volunteers and help from more church congregations and groups. To learn more about the organization go to www.familypromisehawaii.org.

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