Mobile shelters open in Mapunapuna

Paul Gabriel
Paul Gabriel
Utu Langi
Utu Langi
Ray Black
Ray Black

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

MAPUNAPUNA (KHNL) - The wheels are in motion for a new way to help give shelter to the area's homeless after they were forced out from under places like the H-1 freeway.

Several months ago the area's homeless were evicted from places like beaches,parks and under freeways. But now, the public's momentum to help them is going mobile.

It's move-in day for Paul Gabriel. Homeless for nearly five years, he's one of the first residents to call this old bus his new home.

"I can sleep well, I can relax, no one will bother me," said Bus resident Paul Gabriel.

The bus is one of the first remodeled in a fleet of 18. Once operated by Roberts Hawaii, it's now a mobile shelter for eight on-board. The project is called "Evan's Angel's."

"A lot of folks ask who's Evan, it's short for Evening angels," said Organizer Utu Langi.

At a cost of about $35,000 a piece, it took a lot of love to get these buses ready for residents. The sheets and mattresses were donated by area hotels, college students put in the elbow grease to make them shine. Evan's Project was made possible by the compassion of the community.

"People still love them regardless and we'll try to do whatever we can to make sure they will find the most basic needs of all," said Langi.

"We ask for your blessings over the buses lord," said Pastor Ray Black.

Living the Word Ministries offers prayers for the people they hope benefit from the program. Many who became accustomed to living on Oahu's beaches, parks and underneath freeway over-passes.

"We try to get those individuals we can that do want assistance and through this process we're hoping they can transition back into society," said Pastor Black.

With policies of no drinking, smoking and being on best behavior, mobile shelter residents say the project is proof that angels really do exist.

Two buses opened in Mapunapuna Tuesday.

It's open from 5:30 pm to 8:30 am and there's no cap on how long someone can stay but the hope is that homeless will use the shelter as their first step to finding more permanent housing.