HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Last year, workers at the Insitute for Human Services noticed a trend. After years of lower numbers, they began servicing homeless veterans in growing numbers. The figure rose to 20%. That's when they decided to do something specifically for homeless veterans.
The IHS has just blessed its VET House, which stands for Veterans Engaged in Transition.
"Every veteran that comes to that house is really someone who is on their way out of homelessness" said IHS Executive Director Connie Mitchell. The house, which is a residential home in Kalihi, is a first of its kind for the institute. Made possible through public and private partnerships, the home will house up to eight homeless veterans at a time.
"It's really about giving them back their pride that I'm sure they experienced when working and serving in the military" Mitchell explained.
Each person entering into the home is first vetted through the VA office, then given an orientation. Once in the home, the veterans are engaged in a 90-day transitional program as they search for permanent housing.
"I think it's a very individualized plan for each person, because each person needs something different. It's about giving them just what they need".
While the IHS does not own the house, it has come to an agreement with the property owner for the purposes of the program. The house has been refurbished, and is surrounded by landscaping to give its residents serenity while they heal.
"It's a house that is landscaped with a lot of greenery with a lot of beauty. It's very peaceful".
The scenery outside, explains Mitchell, works in concert with the amenities inside.
"I think being able to sleep in a bed and have that sense of safety can transform a person."