The collective hearts of local organizations and business leaders has created a wave of care and hope throughout our community. An ongoing alliance between The Salvation Army, Helping Hands Hawaii and the State of Hawaii’s Homeless Initiative–in partnership with the private sector–to share their services, programs and resources and better serve Hawaii’s homeless has generated meaningful impact and lasting solutions. The State of Hawaii focuses on strategy and providing solutions for the homeless communities; The Salvation Army conducts regular homeless outreach, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and case management; and Helping Hands Hawaii provides a clinical approach to homelessness— putting homeless individuals and families in homes and giving them access to mental health services.
According to a recent report from the Governor’s office, 2017 was a champion year for this collaborative work, resulting in a 9% decrease in individual homelessness and a 19% decrease in homeless families on Oahu—the first decline in homeless numbers in eight years. Although these percentages are encouraging, our homeless communities must never be seen as just numbers. “At the end of the day, the work that we do is really just about people,” says Scott Morishige, the state’s Coordinator on Homelessness. “We want to help people and show them they have not fallen through the cracks. We see them. We are here for them.”
Engagement is necessary for solutions. Starting the conversation to learn about some of these people’s stories or asking these organizations how we, as community members, can assist them in their work is vital. “Homelessness is such a complex issue,” says Jan Harada, CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii. “It is critical that we come together as individuals, organizations and companies to better understand the challenge and to establish multiple effective solutions. One of our core values as an organization is diversified collaboration, because we know that working with others that have different opinions, viewpoints, and experiences, is the only way to bring about community-driven solutions that are sustainable in the long-term.”
Valuable partnerships within the private sector have also contributed to The Salvation Army’s progress in homelessness. “We have been very blessed to have the trust of Hawaii’s business community,” explains Anna Streegan Stone, The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope director.”We know together we can advocate at our Legislature, share resources, and refer clients to each other. They provide us with funds, volunteers and their expertise. They also donate their time. Our upcoming CEO Sleepout is a great example of the dedication Hawaii’s business leaders have toward their community. Coming together to provide solutions and hope for this issue is essential. That is what we are after: increasing hope among those who have already given up trying.”
THE SALVATION ARMY CEO SLEEPOUT
Join Hawaii’s CEOs and community leaders as they raise critical support for homelessness and hunger. Participants will spend a night in downtown, conduct homeless outreach activities, discuss solutions for homelessness, and sleep out on cardboard boxes on the Hawaii State Capitol floor to raise awareness and spark ideas to address the homelessness issue. Through the evening’s programming, participants will learn about the work being done to address some of our community’s most pressing issues. Funds raised will not only provide immediate and emergency assistance for The Salvation Army, but also a pathway of hope to those in need. Register at CEOSLEEPOUTHAWAII.org