It’s been seven months since Hale Mauliola opened. The homeless transitional shelter was met with skepticism when it began intake in November 2015. Since then, the facility has changed from being an experiment to becoming a blueprint.
173 homeless people have been served at the center. Clay Gohier is one of them.
"I was on the beach and I just didn't have a place I could call my own. I slept in my van because I couldn't pay the rent there, it was too high" he said. When he entered the facility, he knew he had a chance to get back on his feet.
"This was like being reborn. I got a chance to have my own place that I can call my home" he said.
For a short while, anyway. The average length of stay has been 50 days. In that time, residents have made huge strides towards re-entering society.
"There are people who are homeless for different reasons, but they're learning from each other. Some are learning tolerance, others are learning respect. They're learning new behaviors that really will help them to be successful" said Connie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Institute for Human Services, which runs the facility.
Additional advantages of the community include access to healthcare and employment services. Since opening, 61 individuals have successfully transitioned into permanent housing.
The City is moving quickly to repeat the success for different segments of the homeless population.
"Same kind of thing, small units. What would be different is families would be welcome. So we'll be rolling that out in the next 30-45 days" said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
By then, Clay will be gone. He's scheduled to move into an apartment next week.
"It's been worth the while waiting. There's a reason for everything" he said.