RICK: Aloha. There has been a notable, positive difference in homelessness for communities such as Waikiki. And with me today is Connie Mitchell, Executive Director of IHS, The Institute for Human Services, who has been at the forefront of this issue and hard at work. Aloha, Connie.
CONNIE: Aloha, Rick. Thank's for having me here!
R: Connie, we both know there is still a lot more to be done. But tell us, what was the key to making such a positive impact in the Waikiki community?
C: The solutions really began with dialogue with stakeholders and took off with the initiative of the private sector and members of their community. Waikiki has definitely been a positive success, and a model we can replicate throughout Hawaii. But it couldn't have happened without the strong support of the community. Government certainly had a role, and the City contributed with policies and a lot of resources. But government funds can also come with a lot of restrictions. As service providers, we need the flexibility that only the private sector and the public can help us with, which Waikiki's visitor industry and the community delivered on – about $600,000 in private funds and a lot of donated hotel furniture to help the homeless start their new lives.
Over 400 lives have been changed for the better, and so has our community.
R: Connie, you are absolutely right – and to our viewers, I hope that you can be part of IHS' efforts in ending homelessness. In fact, you can. Hawaii News Now is proud to air the second annual Hawaii for Hawaii on both KGMB and KHNL. This will be an unpresented live 3 ½ hour televised concert and telethon event on October 22nd from 6:00-9:30pm. So, please tune in. I love what Hawaii for Hawaii is about – developing new strategies and tools to solve homelessness, together, so that it benefits every community throughout the State of Hawaii.
C: Thank you, Rick. And for more information on sponsorships and how to get involved, visit HawaiiforHawaii.com. Mahalo!