Our History

From Peanut Butter Ministry to a multi-service center – we remain committed to serving our community by addressing homelessness in Hawaii.

1978 – The Legacy of the Peanut Butter Ministry

It started with time, compassion and a will to help others by serving homeless people experiencing grief, loss, and trauma. On his 58th birthday, Father Claude DuTeil was sitting outside a storefront in Chinatown when he decided to start a conversation with unsheltered individuals by offering them peanut butter sandwiches and coffee. As someone who had experienced alcoholism and depression, Fr. DuTeil recognized the need for more integrated clinical intervention. He knew that people wanting help could only achieve progress by working through it together, as a community. He was sowing the seeds of compassion that eventually grew to become IHS.

With the help of Hawaii community organizations, businesses, the faith-based community and government, Fr. DuTeil opened IHS’ first drop-in service center on Smith Street. The center was open 7-days a week and saw an average of 60 people each day.

1982 – IHS is incorporated as a 501c3, private, non-profit agency.

1986 – Mayor Frank Fasi’s Administration builds the IHS Sumner Shelter

IHS changed locations frequently after opening its drop-in service center. With the help of city and federal funding, 350 Sumner Street was built expressly for IHS to provide respite and access to shelter, meals and other services. Sumner was able to shelter up to 250 to 300 single men, women and/or families per night. With wide-spread public support, churches, multiple businesseses, and restaurants began taking turns to cook and serve an average 3,600 to 4,800 meals per week.

1990 – Fr. Claude DuTeil leaves IHS and passes his legacy onto new leadership.

Fr. DuTeil achieved so much while battling alcoholism, depression, and later complications due to Parkinson’s disease. He and his family moved to Argyle, Texas, in 1993 to retire. Fr. DuTeil passed away on January 23, 1997.

1990 – 1991 – Rev. Richard Rowe, Former IHS Executive Director

1991 – 1992 – Rev. Lee Kiefer, Former IHS Interim Executive Director

1992 – 1997 – Deborah Morikawa, Former IHS Executive Director

1997 – 2005 – Lynn Maunakea, Former IHS Executive Director

1997 – IHS opens the Kaaahi Women & Family Shelter

With the help of Mayor Jeremy Harris’ Administration and with financial support from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, IHS fulfilled Fr. DuTeil’s vision of opening a separate shelter that solely served women and families with children.

2006 – Present – Connie Mitchell, Current IHS Executive Director

2006 – Present – IHS grows to become a fully-integrated homeless service provider

2007 – IHS begins expansion to of homeless services, including case management, housing, employment and two health and wellness centers at the Kaaahi and Sumner shelters

2012 – IHS expands services into North Shore, Oahu 

Providing homeless outreach and a weekly drop-in service center at the Waialua Community Service Center in Haleiwa.

2012 – IHS opens the Kaamahu Housing and Employment Service Center

2013 – IHS opens it's first specialty shelter, the V.E.T. House in Kalihi Valley

2015 – IHS expands services into Waikiki & Moiliili providing homeless outreach, transportation and a monthly drop-in service center

2015 – IHS & the City & County of Honolulu opens Hale Mauliola Housing Navigation Center

2016 – In partnership with Queens Medical Center and Castle Medical Center, IHS expands its specialty shelter options to include medical respite homes known as the Tutu Bert Houses to medically frail homeless discharged from the hospital.

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