CARES Center

IHS CARES Center in Kalihi

The IHS CARES Center in Kalihi will be a convenient resource for the community. People experiencing housing and job insecurities due to COVID-19 layoffs, furloughs, and other hardships will be connected to available resources. This center will also be focused on helping homeless people with the most serious needs, creating a safer neighborhood for the community by preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

Program Goals

  • Keep Kalihi residents who have been affected by COVID-19 in their homes through housing and employment support
  • Reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in the community by moving vulnerable individuals off the streets
  • Increase public safety and infection prevention for people who live and work in Kalihi
  • Break the cycle of chronic homelessness by offering tailored solutions

Preventing Homelessness

Floor 1: Housing and Employment Assistance 

Housing and employment are essential to maintaining a healthy home. Financial insecurity related to COVID-19 has caused evictions as well as other issues leading to homelessness. Within the IHS CARES Center, counseling and support will be offered to the Kalihi community through housing and employment assistance. While this program is open all residents, it will immediately benefit those who experienced job loss, reduction of hours, furloughs, and/or unemployment due to the pandemic. The first floor of the IHS CARES Center will focus on homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing. It will offer resources and counseling as well as finding housing assistance for payment of rent and utilities. 

The Employment Assistance program will help find new jobs if people need to find one. This will help the affected residents within the Kalihi community stabilize their households and avoid losing their homes. 

Having a facility in Kalihi is convenient. This location will eliminate the transportation barrier, which may have prevented individuals from seeking help sooner. Community members will be served during regular business hours throughout the week. Prior to entry, guests and staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms to maintain a safe service center.  

Chronic Homelessness Assistance

Floor 2: Homeless Triage & Transfer Station (HTATS) 

Chronically homeless adults are vulnerable and at high risk of contracting illnesses, COVID-19 infection, and mortality as a result of living on the streets. To address this risk, the Homeless Triage & Transfer Station (HTATS) will be located on second floor and focused on getting the chronically homeless off the streets of Kalihi. 

HTATS will be accessible through a separate entrance and maintain a discrete service area. HTATS guests will be served separately from those going to the first floor. Any person coming to HTATS will be accompanied by staff at all times. Guests will remain inside the HTATS facility and will not be permitted to leave, roam, or loiter around the property. 

Each person in the program will be assigned a case manager to expedite transfer into long-term services. No more than five guests at a time will spend approximately 24 to 72 hours at HTATS before being transferred to the next stage in their journey. Staff will be available on-site to monitor program guests during overnight stays and ensure COVID-19 safety standards. Referrals will be accepted from IHS Outreach, Honolulu Police Department, other service providers, and the community. Prior to entry, guests and staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms

Safety and Security 

For over 40 years, IHS has established itself as a safe service provider for the community and for those who rely on our assistance and programs. IHS currently operates nine unique facilities around the island of Oahu. 

While IHS operates emergency shelters, most of our facilities are discrete homes within residential communities. The three Kalihi facilities have maintained a successful track record. IHS does not have complaints or ongoing issues from residents.

This facility is not a shelter, nor is it a rest stop, nor a drop-in meal service. Homeless individuals must be invited, screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and enrolled into HTATS. Those who are not enrolled at HTATS will be referred to other service locations where they can obtain the desired resources. Enrolled guests will have a limited stay at HTATS and will move on to another location for continued services within 24 to 72 hours. 

Why this facility, why now?

There are many service providers in the Honolulu area. The CARES Center is an innovative solution, envisioned to help people identify options and navigate the system to meet their personal needs, especially in this difficult time of COVID-19. 

We believe that homelessness is not healthy for individuals or the communities they live in. We want to get people off of the streets as quickly as possible. The longer someone is on the streets, the more difficult it becomes to reintegrate them back into the community in a healthy and productive manner. We believe that having a Transfer Station near where they live is critical to getting people off the streets. Providing a solution in Kalihi makes sense and enables us to serve even those most resistant to services.

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