Homeless to Pay for Extended Stays - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Homeless to Pay for Extended Stays

Arleen Mefy Arleen Mefy
Sheila Alvarez Sheila Alvarez
Connie Mitchell Connie Mitchell

By Zahid Arab

IWILEI (KHNL) -- It's the place the homeless turn to when they need a warm meal or a place to sleep and now there's a new plan to help get their lives back on track.

The Institute for Human Services will be charging a fee for long term guests at the Iwilei shelter that serves more than 300 hundred people each day.

For about two years now, its the same daily routine for Arleen Mefy.

She folds and fixes her bed. But just like the rest of the more than a hundred women and children. She'll have to soon pay for an extended stay.

"We're really asking people to take a 90-day period to really look at how they can end their homelessness with our help," said Connie Mitchell.

A monthly program fee of $ 90 for guests who stay past 90 days is aimed at the homeless taking control of their lives, looking at how they can alter their spending habits. Mefy says its a step towards her own financial freedom." It's going to help me to stay on my own," said Arleen Mefy.

"The program fees is hard because a lot of people aren't working right now, they're saving money and they don't really have it," said Sheila Alvarez.

Mitchell says IHS understands that. It's not about making money, for shelter guests it's about teaching them how to save and sustainability.

"It's about really helping people understand what is required to be really successful in life in our community and to be able to give them the tools to do that," said Mitchell.

Mefy now carefully hangs her clothes, she's had a steady cleaning job for a few years now. It's IHS's vision that through this new fee others are enabled to be empowered.

The program fee kicks in tomorrow. Even if someone staying past 90 days can't afford the 90 bucks, IHS says it won't turn them away. The program will also apply to its men's shelter later this summer.

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