KAILUA (KHNL) - There's an old adage that says many of us are but a paycheck away from being on the beach. One woman has risen above homelessness with the help of a local restaurant.
Just one year ago, a minivan was Ella Yamamoto's home. The passing of her father in-law forced her out of her home and into Kailua Beach Park.
"It was rough but we kind of liked it, we met a lot of people down at the beach who were also homeless" says Yamamoto
These days, Ella is working at Big City Diner in Kailua. It's helped her rent a two bedroom apartment. That in turn helped her recently gain custody of her granddaughter K-Lyn, whose mother is battling drug addiction.
"...family counseling, the judge has given them a lot of chances, even the CPS worker said to do the program, that way you can have the boy back."
K-Lyn used to play in the back of their van but now she has a room to call her own.
"I like my room because, I like to jump from from bed to bed because it s so fun to jump bed to bed." says K-Lyn
Ella will never forget those who helped, and encourages those still living on the beach to do whatever it takes to get back on their feet.
"They just got to be strong, because they can do it, and I know they want to dothe best they can for their family."
Even though they have a new place to call home, Ella still visits her friends from Kailua Beach Park and brings them food from work.