If you’ve ever wanted to see the inside of a senior wellness center, you’re in luck.
But if you want to know the latest developments in the inquiry into how the city and that wellness center used $7.9 million of federal funds, good luck.
ORI Anuenue Hale on Monday announced it would open its doors to the public this summer. But both ORI and the City and County of Honolulu are reluctant to share the plan ORI was required to submit by Friday. That plan was necessary for the city to contest efforts by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to recoup the money, which it says was possibly misused.
First, the good news: The daily open house in Wahiawa will be held between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will allow the public to “see for themselves what the recently completed center is all about and what it offers, not only to the West Oahu and North Shore communities but all of Oahu.”
“The Wellness Center provides adult day care services and physician services, including recreational, learning and therapeutic aamenities (sic) that benefit seniors and adults with disabilities,” states a press release from the nonprofit’s public relations firm. “Likewise, health and wellness classes (including Chi-Kung, yoga, meditation and therapeutic exercise) and recreational activities are offered during the week.”
The open house is presumably part of the organization’s plans to increase use of the wellness center. On a June morning when Civil Beat visited, only five elderly people were using the facility. HUD said that the nonprofit overstated how many clients it served.
But we don’t know what ORI plans to do about that, since it won’t disclose the documents it says it submitted to the city Friday.
It also won’t share the organization’s plan to bring itself into compliance with federal guidelines, instead deferring to the city. The city, in turn, is deferring to the federal government.
Mayor Peter Carlisle‘s press secretary, Louise Kim McCoy, told Civil Beat via email Monday that the city is still reviewing ORI’s plans. “We plan to submit the approved plans to HUD by August 1st. We will seek HUD’s approval to determine if we can share our submission with you. Please check back with us after August 1st.”
This reporter responded that the documents are public and should be made available to the public, and asked for the statutory basis for the denial. Civil Beat filed a formal Uniform Information Practices Act request with the mayor’s office and the Department of Community Services Monday afternoon.
We’ll let you know if and when the kimono is opened.
Read Civil Beat’s previous coverage of the problems at ORI: