Three months after it opened, the city’s first transitional housing center is halfway filled, and it shouldn’t be long until it’s at maximum capacity.
When KHON2 went back to the facility on Sand Island Monday, we saw all the containers in place with 32 people now living there.
The joint venture between the city and the Institute for Human Services provides a place for the homeless to live while the city helps them find permanent housing.
The city says six Hale Mauliola residents have already found a permanent place to live, and they’re calling that a victory.
One of the current residents at Hale Mauliola, Kala Koanui has lived just about everywhere. But he says that after he moved into Hale Mauliola, he felt like he got his dignity back, and he’s on his way to finding a permanent place to live.
“I’m open to get into a place, which is really helping with my case manager and everybody else has been helping me, so I just want to say thank you,” he said.
At full capacity, the transitional facility will be able to house around 80 or 90 people. The goal is to transition people into permanent housing in 60 days.
IHS described the beginning of the project as a slow and steady start, saying it’s better to move residents in gradually.
Clinical director Jerry Coffee says one of the only requirements is that residents work to eventually move into permanent housing. “Even if they’re mostly demonstrating willingness and perhaps not so much readiness. That’s really the goal for Hale Mauliola as a low-barrier facility,” Coffee said.
As far as the goal of getting people into permanent housing within 60 days, Coffee says they’re willing to be flexible. “Our goal is to actually house people, so to the extent that we can work with them to help them, we’ll do that,” he said.
IHS expects the facility to be full by mid- to late March.
For people living there, like former Waikiki beach boy Uncle Clay, it’s already a step in the right direction. “I’m happy to be here with my wife, and the people here have been excellent down to the janitor. Everybody treats you well,” he said.
IHS provides three meals a day for the Sand Island facility’s residents, along with shuttle services and access to job placement services and medical care.
In addition to 32 residents, three dogs also call Hale Mauliola home.