"Next Step" Gets Helping Hand - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

"Next Step" Gets Helping Hand

Manny Nitullama Manny Nitullama
Eddie Ochoa Eddie Ochoa

By Howard Dashefsky

KAKAAKO (KHNL)- The Kakaako "First Step" homeless shelter got a helping hand today from a group of volunteers who didn't know those living inside the facility, but understand what they're going through.

"It's the right thing to do to help someone you know that's been where you've been because i've been here" said Manny Nitullama Jr.

Nitullama was among more than two dozen volunteers who worked to make the shelter a bit more habitable.

He knows what's it's like to be homeless having lived in his car for 2 and a half years.

"It's not a good feeling at all but i had to do what i had to do" said Nitullama. "It was the only place i could find refuge that was safe for me".

Now, like the rest of these volunteers, Manny's refuge is in helping others.

Eddie Ochoa of New Hope Church came up with the idea a few months back after dropping by the shelter for a first hand look.

"There was no programs and the place was pretty run down so I got a group together and we came in."

Ochoa admits many of his fellow volunteers are just a step away from being homleless themselves.

Most all of them have already dealt with the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.

For Nitullama working in the shelter offers a reality check.

"I'm not any better than these people here i'm in the same situation as them" said Nitullama. "I'm just in a program trying to get help. I'm trying to show them there is hope".

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