Mayor Kirk Caldwell spoke Monday during a blessing of Hale Mauliola on Sand Island, which operators call “Hawaii’s first housing navigation service center.”
Home Depot donated landscaping at the facility run by the Institute for Human Services. It currently houses 80 residents. Couples and pets are allowed.
Hale Mauliola residents can bring their bicycles. New amenities include solar charging stations, room lighting and personal storage lockers.
Even though the shelter had been open for 220 days, the event was considered a grand opening. IHS Executive Director Connie Mitchell, right, and IHS Chaplain Terry Yasuko Ogawa prepared to untie the maile lei.
The shelter has served 173 homeless people so far. Caldwell said it “really gives me hope that this model can work in other areas.”
Caldwell hugged Hale Mauliola resident “Uncle Clay.” Despite the celebration, a survey released Wednesday showed a 4 percent increase in Hawaii’s homeless population over a year earlier.
IHS Chaplain Terry Yasuko Ogawa blessed the front row of attendees with ti leaves and water. Caldwell said 61 residents have already transitioned into permanent housing.
A maile lei swayed in the breeze inside the “central hale,” built as a place for gatherings and social service fairs.
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