Shelter Gives Hope to the Homeless

Bernadette Javier
Bernadette Javier
Utu Langi
Utu Langi

KAKA'AKO (KHNL) -- It's a place some 200 Oahu residents call home. The Next Step Transitional Shelter in Kaka'ako has helped hundreds more get a second chance at life.

It marks its two-year anniversary with a celebration, and the theme of the event Saturday night was hope.

Hope is something that motivates shelter employees to want to continue helping the homeless, and it also drives people who live there to move on and find a permanent home.

These kids play a game of hoops at the Next Step Transitional Shelter. People who live here want to improve their chances at the game of life.

Bernadette Javier knows what they're going through. She and her children lived here for about seven months.

"I was kind of embarrassed but I know I shouldn't have been," said the 49-year-old mother of three. "But we stayed here, and it's really good in here."

The shelter rebuilds people's confidence in themselves and gives them hope.

"Hope is a thing we try to embody in what we do," said Utu Langi, the shelter manager. "And show people that there's always help no matter where you're at in the spectrum of life and hope is always there."

Javier learned some valuable lessons at the shelter.

"Everyone in here has to have an action plan," she said. "It's either you make a savings or they make you go out and get a job, and it works out and I made a savings and I got me a place."

She moved out of the shelter in April.

"It felt so good," said Javier. "It just felt good. It really did."

Now, she's back to thank those who helped her.

This banquet honors the several hundred volunteers at the shelter.

"Today we get to celebrate and thanksgiving to all of them that have stepped up and provided that hope for people," said Langi.

And that hope drove Javier to a better life for her and her children.

"There is hope. There is hope," she said. "Don't give up. That's all I can say. Just don't give up. There is hope. They'll help you here in the shelters. There is."

Hoping to solve the homeless dilemma in Hawaii.

Javier is one of about 300 people who have moved on to permanent homes from the Next Step shelter. Statewide, close to 16,000 people are homeless. Almost a third are children.