Break-in of Maui Mobile Hygiene Unit That Serves Unsheltered Homeless CommunityNovember 17, 2020, 8:58 AM HST · Updated November 17, 9:07 AM Wendy Osher · 14 Comments
A mobile hygiene unit used by unsheltered homeless in South Maui was broken into yesterday, with many items stolen, rendering the unit inoperable, according to the Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers.
“Our hearts are broken,” organization leaders said, as they made the discovery early Monday morning.
The organization estimates that damages and loss at $10,000 and possibly more.
“The theft of equipment from our Mobile Hygiene Unit is devastating and couldn’t come at a worse time as we’re heading into National Homeless Awareness Month,” said Monique Ibarra, Executive Director of Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers. As tragic as this is though, the greater tragedy is that there are still unsheltered people from our community. KHAKO is just one of a collective of homeless service providers throughout the state working hard to end homelessness on our islands.”
The Mobile Hygiene Unit known as Ka La Hiki Ola, was being used at St. Theresa’s church in Kīhei to help the unsheltered in the area to have a hot shower and private bathroom.
“It would help us so much if our community can help us by being on the lookout for our items that were stolen out of the unit,” the organization advised. Items include two water heater tanks, battery, copper wiring and pipes, an electric panel, toilet, ceiling A/C unit, and two propane gas tanks.
“For our agency, please call Crime Stoppers if you get information about the equipment that was stolen. We will rebuild as soon as we can and I thank the Maui community who is already making the charge for action to get our unit repaired and back for services to the Kīhei community,” said Ibarra, noting the agency will soon set up a GoFundMe account and add the link to their Facebook page.
“But I encourage our community to find the homeless service provider in your community and see if you can offer a donation to them. During National Homeless Awareness Week and as we get into the holidays, many providers and shelters, including KHAKO, would love donations, gift cards for the their clients, and food donations, meals for Thanksgiving would be awesome,” said Ibarra.
Ibarra also encouraged landlords to offer rentals to unsheltered individuals. “That would be epic and would really make an impact towards ending homelessness on our islands,” she said.
“Our team will continue to offer housing resources and services (laundry mat vouchers, health care coverage applications, food stamps, bus vouchers, and referrals to stay in KHAKO’s homeless shelter) to the unsheltered community on the South Side at St. Theresa’s Church,” according to information provided by KHAKO.
November is National Homeless Awareness Month and Bridging The Gap (BTG), a neighbor island coalition of more than 25 nonprofit service providers, is launching a month-long campaign to raise awareness of the plight of those experiencing homelessness on the islands of Maui, Hawaiʻi Island and Kauaʻi.
On Maui, there are five service providers and they are asking for community support this month. Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resources Centers seeks the following:
- Help from the Maui community to prepare 400 Thanksgiving meals in a commercial kitchen
- Grocery store gift cards for Thanksgiving meals
- Gift cards or holiday gifts for families including toys for children of all ages
- Clothes and hygiene kits for its mobile hygiene van, which will travel three times a week to homeless encampments in November
- Businesses and organizations who can help to identify potential applicants who are facing eviction and need to apply for rent subsidies
Contact Misty Bannister at 446.8131 or [email protected] to help this month.
Family Life Center on Maui is seeking gift cards to provide food and supplies to individuals and families. These can be sent to FLC at 95 S. Kāne Street, Kahului, 96732.
Population Estimates: by the numbers
BTG’s coalition of service providers believes that these numbers will further deteriorate due to the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming eviction moratorium expiration on Dec. 31.
On Maui, the total number of homeless households is estimated to be 309, of which 126 (41%) are unsheltered.
The homeless estimates were taken from BTG’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) as of Sept. 30, 2020.
More than 1,361 are experiencing homelessness on the islands of Maui, Hawaiʻi Island and Kauaʻi this holiday season. About 28 percent are children.
Each year, 3.5 million people end up sleeping in parks, under bridges, in shelters or in cars, according to BTG. More than 1 in 5 children live in poverty. More than 49 million Americans are at risk of suffering from hunger, according to the organization.
Virtual Vigil set for Nov. 18
Bridging The Gap’s coalition of service providers will be hosting a virtual vigil across its social media platforms in honor of National Homeless Awareness Month in November. On Wednesday, Nov. 18, all are invited to light a candle and share photos and videos to their Instagram or Facebook live or stories to help spread awareness.
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