Former homeless aims to help others succeed - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Former homeless aims to help others succeed

Glenn Fuentes Glenn Fuentes
Paul Ruddell Paul Ruddell

By Cindy Cha - bio | email

KAILUA (KHNL) - A resource center here on Oahu provides some much needed services for the homeless. Its vision is to see that everyone gets decent and affordable housing.

Glenn Fuentes volunteers five days a week at the Affordable Housing and Homeless Alliance in Kailua. He's there to help the homeless get off the streets and back into society.

"I do client services, I help certain homeless, if they want to transition," said Fuentes.

But Glenn says transitioning back isn't easy. If anyone who knows how tough life can get, it's him.  He was homeless for 12 years. A drug addiction kept him on the streets.

"After all the time that I've lost in time in my past, it was time for me to get back," said Fuentes.  "Get back on my feet and get back to what was given to me."

Now clean and sober, he has an apartment in Kailua and a job.  He credits this resource center for helping him turn his life around.  Now he wants to help others succeed.

"If they see where I came from knowing that I transition out, then they can see a light at the end of the tunnel, they know it's possible," said Fuentes.

Site coordinator Paul Ruddell says having someone who's been there, helps tremendously.

"Many of the homeless people, they come in with an attitude like 'well, what can you do for me, can you help my problem, do you know where I'm going through?' said Ruddell. "And by having people who have already begun the transition from being homeless towards having their own place, they can see 'well, if he's done it, I can do it too.'

The Alliance receives about 400 clients a month at three locations on Oahu. That number has increased dramatically due to the recent beach closures, lay-offs and the sinking economy.

The resource center is like a one-stop shop. It provides everything from food, clothes, personal care items and even entertainment.

But it's greatest asset is having volunteers like Glenn, who are stepping forward, to help stop homelessness.

The Alliance receives a grant from the City and County of Honolulu to run its services but it recently lost its lease at the Wahiawa center.

The organization is actively seeking a new location in central Oahu.

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