When Ketsy, Michiosy and their three children moved out of a Honolulu apartment a week before Christmas 2019, they didn’t know when they might live under their own roof again. Despite both parents working full time, the $1,800 rental payment was always going to be more than they could afford and still feed their family. They left home that day with suitcases of clothes and a few small possessions. They gave their furniture and other items to neighbors who were also in need.
With no relatives in Hawaii, there wasn’t anyone to take them in. Instead, the family found their way to IHS’ Family Shelter on Kaaahi Street. In recounting that experience, Ketsy says, “IHS is like a giant, bright open door with light pouring out of it where families can find all these helpful people and resources.”
IHS case manager, Dee, has provided intensive counseling and connected them to resources to improve their eligibility for housing consideration at Kahauiki Village. The family has made the most of their situation and have fully embraced the services and opportunities available to them while living at the shelter.
Moving in to Kahauiki Village is a dream come true. Each has worked hard to earn the privilege of moving there. On May 7, 2020, they became the 100th family to move in. This affordable housing development was created by visionary Duane Kurisu, who set out to recreate a tight-knit support system that resembles the plantation-style community in which he was raised.
For the first time in years, Ketsy has the time and energy to take a longer view on life. She sees this journey to housing as one that will help her family take the next step toward improving their quality of life. She hopes to re-enroll in school and find her way to a living wage, to better support the family.
You can read more about her family’s journey here.
Vaughn was in his senior year at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa—a straight-A dean’s list student on his way to a degree in social work—when a car accident left him with a badly broken jaw and opioid prescriptions for the pain. What was supposed to help him heal became an addiction.
My experience at IHS was so welcoming, I have referred friends to their housing office to seek support.
Michelle Kupahu was on the road to recovery when she first heard about IHS’ services.
Terry Lauro, who was homeless on and off for seven years, recently transitioned from Tutu Bert’s House into a long-term independent group home, where she is now stable. She is the first person to successfully transition from the facility, which opened in March 2016.
I’m really happy to have my daughters back in a routine. Being homeless, everything gets out of whack and crazy. I watched my kids and I suffer. Things got out of routine. Now, it’s so good to see them have normalcy. I feel like it gave us a new chance to start fresh.