At IHS, we meet people wherever they are. That translates to their geographic location, their emotional condition, or their readiness to engage in services. Outreach Specialists establish relationships and offer help to people who live in their cars, in encampments, parks, under highways, and other places not meant for habitation.
Every day, our outreach staff conduct rounds in different areas of the island offering help and advice to people experiencing homelessness. In addition to these daily outreach services, we also conduct ongoing programs such as these:
Pop-up events take place across Oahu and include partnerships with a variety of service providers with specialties from mental health to substance abuse. Together, we deliver hot meals, mobile showers, clothes, employment opportunities and more. These events bring aid island-wide from North Shore towns to Windward communities to the streets of Waikiki.
This initiative enables us to reach those who are on streets at night. We are often their only source of help, information, and referrals to medical care and other critical services.
In January 2017, IHS launched Hawaii’s first street medicine program to help the chronically homeless access the help they desperately need. These individuals often experience mental illness so severe they have been unable to care for themselves and may pose a danger to themselves or those around them. In some cases, we can help them access medicine that can effectively treat schizophrenia and other conditions that helps to end their homelessness. We also provide mobile health services such as life-saving prescription drugs and treatment.
At times, there are individuals who are so lost in their mental illness or substance abuse disorders that they’ve lost their cognitive function and ability to care for themselves. IHS has been advocating for many of these individuals in the courts to ensure access to safe, doctor prescribed treatment to help manage these illnesses and get the affected individuals to a place of stability where a new future is possible.