December 2019 – The children of homeless families know the story all too well. Moving from place to place. Days laughing with friends followed by evenings wondering if there will be food for dinner. School days missed for lack of transportation or adequate clothing. Sleepless nights full of uncertainty and fear.
No family should have to be in this position. At IHS they don’t have to be. While we are well known for our work to shelter and feed Hawaii’s hungry and homeless citizens, our work with families sometimes gets overshadowed. All aspects of our family outreach, housing support, health care, life coaching, after-school care, and job training weave together for specialized solutions that end the cycle of family homelessness.
IHS shelters are places of hope. They are places where people in crisis can take a breath and regroup, and find encouragement and support to get on a path towards a permanent home. Children are enrolled in a nearby school and free lunch program. At the end of the school day, they access afternoon activities and tutoring assistance, after-school snacks and a safe environment to play. Parents are coached in financial literacy, participate in vocational training and use the computer lab to look for jobs. In the evenings, families are able to sit down together for a meal, do laundry, take a shower, and sleep in a bed, in safety. All of these resources work together to create a supportive and motivational space to learn, grow, and plan for a brighter future, together.
Our work at Kahauiki Village to sustain formerly homeless families in a supportive community has challenged us to expand our shelter services to encompass permanent housing. It continues to inform us about how earlier intervention impacts the trajectory of homelessness and long-term health of families. Kahauiki Village affirms the power of community to inspire, heal and evoke the very best in people. Values and discipline are being modeled and practiced for young and old alike.
Next month, we celebrate the continued expansion of Kahauiki Village to include another 30 incoming families, essentially tripling the size of the village in just two years. This once empty land now houses 60 families with children, aged 1-18, who are living, learning, and thriving together. We look forward to sharing more stories with you about the vitality of this budding community.
Thank you for believing with us and the Kahauiki Village Development Team led by Duane Kurisu, that community is a distinguishing element of what it takes to help a family emerge out of homelessness and thrive. Together, we can end family homelessness and ensure that once homeless children can know the safety, security, and stability of a place to call home.