Easter for the Homeless

Celeste Kekoolani
Celeste Kekoolani
Pastor Curt Kekuna
Pastor Curt Kekuna
Volunteers at Kawaiahao Church Serve Food to the Homeless
Volunteers at Kawaiahao Church Serve Food to the Homeless

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Last minute donations are allowing the homeless to enjoy the Easter holiday and have a place to stay at Honolulu churches for one more week.

There are about 40 homeless people staying at a shelter at Central Union church and another 100 at Kawaiaha'o Church.

Most of them were displaced after the city shut down Ala Moana Beach Park last month.

"I'm really grateful because I know I can be here in the shelter," says Celeste Kekoolani.

Kekoolani was one of the dozens evicted from the park. She doesn't look like a homeless person. "I present myself the best I can," says Kekoolani.

That's because Celeste is looking for work. She just lost her full-time job last week. She has a job interview lined up this week.

"Its not so bad, because you can find a job."

But she says finding a place to live in Honolulu is difficult because of the high rent.

"When you're homeless, you got to go to your storage locker, get your clothes for work, come back, sleep in the church, get ready for work, go to work and its hectic all day," says Kekoolani.

The shelters will remain open for one more week thanks to food and monetary donations from people, other churches and local companies.

"What we have been doing is just making sure we have enough food here and have enough what they need. They have also given us resources, basic necessities like blankets, towels, over the counter medicines, those kinds of things," says Senior Pastor Curt Kekuna.

Kawaiaha'o Church along with Central Union Church have pledged to keep their shelters open and kitchens running.

"Were just going to be taking it a week at a time, and we'll see if any folks will step up and say okay, we want to help," says Kekuna.

Because in a month, the Kawaiaha'o Church is renovating. Some of the buildings on the campus, including the temporary shelter will be knocked down.

"We would love it if social agencies, both private and public, would take up the call. Because there is a need and this need is not going to go away. It's probably going to get bigger in the ensuing years. We need to address the problem. I know the government is attempting to address the problem. But I would like them to address it sooner rather than later," says Kekuna.

Because time could be running out for the homeless like Celeste Kekoolani.

"If there was no church I wouldn't know where to go," says Kekoolani.

According to state records, there are 15,000 people on the waiting list for public housing. In the meantime, some homeless people have asked lawmakers for a warehouse or a section in a park.