By : Diane Ako
HONOLULU (KHNL)- Governor Linda Lingle and Lt. Governor James R. "Duke" Aiona, Jr. today officially opened a transitional shelter for homeless families who had been living on beaches and parks along the Leeward Coast of O`ahu. A blessing was held today to welcome the families to their new temporary home.
The new shelter, named Onelau`ena, meaning a place where all necessities of life can be found, is located in a three-story, former military building (previously known as Building 50) at Kalaeloa in Barbers Point. Once completely occupied, the building will accommodate approximately 200 residents. Families started moving into the second- and third-floor units on Oct. 19. As of today, 30 families, totaling approximately 150 individuals, are currently residing at Onelau`ena. Approximately 90 of the residents are children.
The first floor remains under construction and is expected to open in mid-November. "We are providing a safe and secure facility where families with nowhere else to turn can have a safe, supportive place to stay while they work toward gaining self-sufficiency and finding more permanent housing," said Governor Lingle. "Beyond just providing a roof over their heads, we believe it is critically important to work closely with these families to provide supportive services to help them gain skills to move forward."