SAND ISLAND, OAHU (HAWAIINEWSNOW) - The city is hosting a grand opening and blessing ceremony Monday for Hale Mauliola, Hawaii's first housing navigation service center to help the homeless.
At 11:00 a.m. Monday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell will join local lawmakers and officials with the Institute for Human Services (IHS), contracted to operate the modified container housing facility off Sand Island Access Road, to share with the media the successes and challenges of operating the center.
Since opening in November of 2015, officials said Hale Mauliola has provided a variety of critical services to nearly 170 homeless individuals, successfully moving nearly half of them into permanent housing facilities to date.
"Just seven months since opening, we have already exceeded our goal to helping 140 clients a year. We have successfully moved 60 individuals into permanent housing facilities," said Kimo Carvalho, IHS director of community relations.
Of those who have left Hale Mauliola, Carvalho said 20 had voluntarily left and abandoned their rooms while 16 had been asked to leave for violating facility rules with illegal behavior. He noted that of those kicked out, half had actually returned to homeless services through another IHS facility or U.S.VETS program.
Since the last media update in February, 2016, officials said Hale Mauliola, which can house 63 individuals, has undergone continued development with new bedroom amenities, including solar charging stations, room lighting and personal storage lockers.
According to officials, Hale Mauliola has also added a new central hale structure with electricity for guests to congregate, socialize and to host social service fairs regularly.
"This facility meets a critical need for Hawaii's Continuum of Care by serving more homeless sub-populations, like those with pets and couples," said Carvalho.
One unidentified woman, said she was very happy living at Hale Mauliola compared to being in a tent 5 months ago in Kahaluu near the Hygenic Store. She said she was lucky to find out about the site and get signed up because she'd only been homeless for a few weeks due to family problems. Now she's on track to move into a transitional housing facility in another 6 months.
It's not her first time being homeless, but the woman, who was out walking her small dog, stressed that having Hale Mauliola to go to with her pet made a big difference in her life. Now, she said she's on the path to getting her own place and finding more work to help supplement her social security income.