Neighborhood Place of Puna

Neighborhood Place of Puna

Helping Families Raise Safe and Healthy Children

CARES Act Rental & Mortgage Assistance Program

About Us

Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP) is a Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention agency. Our primary services include housing, disaster relief and our Family Strengthening home-visitation program. Family Strengthening is a free program in East Hawai’i offering voluntary, intensive services supporting families with children age 0-17.

Our goal is to ensure that families have access to the resources and skills they need to raise safe and healthy children, free of abuse and neglect.

NPP helps parents and children by meeting weekly with families however is most convenient for them, over a period of several months, connecting the family to available resources, providing encouragement and support, and helping parents understand their children’s developmental stages.

The Neighborhood Place of Puna family strengthening program helps caretakers identify their strengths, improve on weak areas, and enables success as a family. Those who complete the program are given additional knowledge, resources, and skills to raise safe and healthy children.


Our History

Neighborhood Place of Puna began as a community response to the high amount of child abuse in Puna and the disproportionately high removal rate of Hawaiian children from their homes.

In 2002 a collaboration of community groups- The Island of Hawaii YMCA, Child Welfare Services, the Children’s Justice Center, Turning Point for Families, and other concerned individuals submitted an application to Blue Print for Change to open a Neighborhood Place in Puna.

The collaboration sought to develop and support our family-centered, and community-driven, home visitation prevention program that would help ensure that families have access to the resources and skills necessary to raise safe and healthy children.

In August of 2002, the Island of Hawaii YMCA opened the Neighborhood Place of Puna in Pahoa to families and community groups in Puna. In 2003 NPP received additional funding from the Hawaii Children’s Trust fund.

In an effort to expand our reach and create sustainability, NPP received its IRS non-profit organization status in 2006. Since 2014 we have also supported disaster-related work and resilience/recovery in our community, and in 2019 we opened our first Family Assessment Center for homeless families in need of shelter.


Our Work

Are you or a family at risk of child abuse or neglect? Low-income, sometimes overworked caregivers are often at risk of negative outcomes due in part to stress and lack of access to resources. Families experiencing historical/epigenetic trauma and those with high ACE scores may especially be at heightened risk and may benefit from Neighborhood Place of Puna’s in-home Family Strengthening and prevention program.

Today, our main office is located at 16-105 Opukahaia St., Keaau, Hawaii. In addition to our in-home/remote Family Strengthening services, we also continue to operate our Disaster Case Management office and two homeless shelters: Hale Hanakahi for high-risk homeless individuals seeking shelter during the pandemic, and Hale ‘Iki for families and children in East Hawai’i. We are continually working with partners and allies to address the current economic and health concerns during Covid-19 and other disasters. In the near future, we will also be launching ‘olelo-based counseling to more effectively serve Native Hawaiian clients.

We thank you for being part of our community, sighing up for NPP’s free programs if you are in need, and donating to NPP if you are able to give. Your support allows our caseworkers and services to continue into the future. Like you, we are here to connect Hawai’i families and keiki to support with compassion and aloha.


Community Resilience
Since 2002 Neighborhood Place of Puna has been working to support families in raising strong, happy, and healthy keiki. Our community members face many struggles including poverty, systematic racism, historical trauma, and alienation. All of...
Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana
Ka Papahana Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana The Ho`ōla Pilina `Ohana Program       He papahana ʻo Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana e ʻimi ana i ke kākoʻo i nā pono aʻoaʻo o nā ʻohana Hawaiʻi ma nā...
Family Strengthening
East Hawaii Family Strengthening Program   Neighborhood Place of Puna is committed to the well-being and success of families and children. We strive to help families develop the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to raise...
Hale ‘Iki Family Assessment Center
Ending Family Homelessness   In the summer of 2019 Neighborhood Place of Puna was blessed to work in partnership with other non-profit  agencies, communities of faith and government to open the first and only family...

Family Strengthening

East Hawaii Family Strengthening Program


Neighborhood Place of Puna is committed to the well-being and success of families and children. We strive to help families develop the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to raise their children in safe, stable, and nurturing homes.

Our Family Strengthening Program provides intensive, on-going, in-home services to families with under-age children. Often families enroll in our program because they are in crisis. Sometimes that crisis is an unexpected pregnancy. Or it could be a child that is constantly “acting out.”  Or it might be that the stress and insecurity of poverty have made parenting unmanageable.



Our program staff work with families wherever they call home. This might be an apartment, a park, an unpermitted dwelling, a car, or an emergency shelter like Hale ‘Iki. Our program services are tailored to address each family’s unique needs. Sometimes a family’s needs are very concrete. They just need stable housing. Other times there are complex family issues that require Neighborhood Place of Puna staff to provide ongoing coaching, parental education, advocacy, and referrals to additional professional services.

Families living in Puna and South Hilo can access Neighborhood Place of Puna’s free and voluntary services whenever they need help.

Would you or a love one like to participate in free family strengthening services? Email, or apply now by clicking the button below.


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Averting a Hawaii Housing Crisis
This year, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reported that approximately 30-40 million Americans are now at risk of homelessness as a result of the...
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Announcing Ho’ōla ‘Ohana Pilina
‘A‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia. No task is too big when done together by all. Aloha friends! We are excited to announce that Neighborhood...
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Remembering Mary Hyslop
"Mary Hyslop the founding Executive Director of Neighborhood Place of Puna passed away in June of this year. Mary served as NPP's Executive Director from...
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Culture-Based Programs in Hawaii
Neighborhood Place of Puna works with diverse families in East Hawai’i. While our community is diverse, we know that a disproportionate number of families we...
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In Solidarity- On Racial Justice
  In the past several days we have seen staggering demonstrations within U.S. mainland cities as communities rise up to protest racism and police violence....
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Preventing Anxiety and Trauma in Keiki During Covid-19
Mental Health Awareness Month  Preventing Anxiety and Trauma in Keiki   During the pandemic children and families all around the world are experiencing increased risk...
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URGENT- Save Our Services!
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Hale ‘Iki Family Assessment Center

Ending Family Homelessness


In the summer of 2019 Neighborhood Place of Puna was blessed to work in partnership with other non-profit  agencies, communities of faith and government to open the first and only family emergency shelter in Puna. Hale ‘Iki Family Assessment Center consists of nine small homes that can accommodate up to four family members. This housing first based program provides emergency shelter to families experiencing homelessness.  Families at Hale Iki are provided housing navigation, tenancy skills training, and case management to help move them from homelessness and into stable housing as quickly as possible.

A hale unit at Hale Iki Family Assessment Center. Each hale has four beds, larger families have used two units at a time when necessary. Neighborhood Place of Puna has helped dozens of families with children recover from experiencing homelessness in the last year.


Neighborhood Place of Puna is committed to ensuring that no family – and certainly no child – experiences homelessness in Hawaii County.

Homelessness can have lifelong negative developmental and health impacts on a child. Children who experience homelessness are more vulnerable to child abuse and neglect. The longer a child remains homeless, the more bleak the outcome. Children raised in persistent poverty, including periods of homelessness, are less likely to finish school. They are at higher risk for incarceration, teen pregnancy/parenthood, substance abuse, and a life of poverty.

Neighborhood Place of Puna believes that we can end family homelessness in Hawaii County and that doing so is a moral imperative!


To this end:

  1. We work directly with homeless families to connect them with emergency shelter, permanent housing, and the supports they need to remain housed. 
  2. We work with local churches to identify emergency short term shelter and support to homeless families who have nowhere else to go. 
  3. We work with Communities of Faith, businesses, and Social Welfare groups to address the lack of affordable housing for families. 
  4. We work to address the underlying causes of family homelessness and poverty. 


Neighborhood Place of Puna needs your help. Please make a donation today to support our homeless families and the work that we do to ensure that no child has to experience homelessness.


Four of nine shelter units 

If you or a family you know are experiencing homelessness contact us at 965-5550 to see if we can support you with housing or family strengthening services.

Gardens at Hale Iki maintained by volunteers and local faith community

More about Hawai’i and U.S. Homelessness

Honolulu Civil Beat Poverty persists among Hawaiians despite low unemployment

Splinter News They were there first, but now Native Hawaiians have nowhere to live

Daily Mail Homelessness in Hawaii has grown so fast that the eighth-smallest state in U.S. has the nation’s highest homeless rate per capita

Star Advertiser HUD: Hawaii still No. 1 in per capita homeless

Download the Aloha United Way’s ALICE Report. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income, Constrained, Employed.

Listen to Terri Gross’ April 12, 2018  interview with Pulitzer Prize winning author Mathew Desmond as they discuss America’s Eviction Crisis.

Download a simple graphic about the 2018 cost of housing in Hawaii Count.

Download the Touchpoints of Homelessness Report, which looks at Homelessness in Hawaii.

Donate to NPP

Make a monthly or one-time donation to Neighborhood Place of Puna. Your support helps us to build strong, healthy families in your community.




Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana

Ka Papahana Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana

The Ho`ōla Pilina `Ohana Program




He papahana ʻo Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana e ʻimi ana i ke kākoʻo i nā pono aʻoaʻo o nā ʻohana Hawaiʻi ma nā kaiāulu o Puna a i Hilo ma o ke kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi. E hoʻokō ʻia ana kēia ma o ka ʻōlelo makuahine a pēlā pū ka ʻōlelo pelekania, ke pono. ʻO ka pahuhopu nui ʻo kēia ʻimi ʻana ʻo ia ka hoʻoikaika i ke ola kino, ka manaʻo paʻa, a me ka mauli o ka ʻohana holoʻōkoʻa. E walaʻau ʻia ana :

KA ʻALOʻAHIA: Nā mea e uluhua ai ke kanaka kēlā lā, kēia lā

KA ʻEHA: Ka ʻeha e ili mai ana mai kekahi hanauna a i kekahi hanauna hou

KA MAULI: Ka pilina o ke kanaka i kona mauli Hawaiʻi

E ʻike ʻia ana ke ʻano e pā ai nā pilina ʻohana e kēia ʻaloʻahia, kēia ʻeha, a me kēia mauli, me ka noʻonoʻo mau i ke ala kūpono.



The Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana program offers culturally based counseling services families living in Puna and South Hilo.  These counseling services are provided bilingually — in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi  and/or English, as appropriate — to families with underage children to increase overall health, resilience, and wellbeing of entire ʻOhana in addressing issues arising from day-to-day life stressors, multigenerational trauma, cultural identity issues and how it affects the pilina (relationships) within the ʻOhana and itʻs overall pono (proper) functioning.



ʻO ka nuʻukia o ka papahana Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana ua kupu mai ka ʻike pinepine i ka hopena o ka nui ʻeha o ka Hawaiʻi ma ka nohona kolonaio. Mai ka ʻaihue i ka ʻāina a i ka pepehi i ka ʻōlelo, ua pā ʻino ke kanaka Hawaiʻi e ke kolonaio a ua hua mai nā alaina hou o ke ola kino, o ke kālā, a o ka mauli. ʻO ka nui o nā pilina e ola ai ke kanaka Hawaiʻi ua wāwahi ia a na kēia papahana e ʻimi i ka hoʻōla hou i mea e ola ai ke kanaka a pēlā pū ka ʻohana Hawaiʻi.

Wahi a nā oli a moʻolelo o kahiko, ua ʻike ka Hawaiʻi i ka nui waiwai o ka “pilina” – ka pilina o ke kanaka i kona ʻāina, i kona kaiāulu, a i kona ʻohana. ʻO kēia manaʻo o ka pilina he kahua ia o ke kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi, kahi e ʻike leʻa ai kākou he kuleana ko kākou e kahukahu i kēia mau pilina i mea e ola ai kākou. ʻAʻole nō ahuwale nā pilina e pono ai ke ola pono. ʻO ka pilina o ke kanaka i kona moʻomeheu a me ka ʻohana i kona ʻaumakua – he mau pilina kēia e pono pū ana e hoʻokahua, hoʻokaulike, a hoʻopaʻa. Ma kēia papahana ʻo Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana, e kia ana kākou i ka hoʻoikaika i kēia mau pilina i mea e ola ai ka ʻohana. E kelepona (808)956-5550 aiʻole leka uila mai i ka papahana Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana.



Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana literally translates into “there is life in relationships and family.” The term Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana for this specific project was created from a kaona (hidden meaning) perspective, given the hidden translation to preserve overall well being through all relationships that connect us. These relationships could be those more obvious to the human eye like the connection between keiki (children) and mākua (parents) or ʻohana (family) and kaiāulu (community); these relationships could also refer to the connections between kanaka (individual) and moʻomeheu (culture), kanaka (individual) and the ʻāina (land), as well as ʻOhana (family) and ʻaumākua (ancestors) and everything else in between that connects us. Native Hawaiians were very much connected to one-another, to the culture, language, the land, all living beings etc. It is almost entirely innate for Native Hawaiians to have various healthy connections and relationships to keep them grounded, balanced and secure.  Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana program vision is influenced by the generational and historical trauma native Hawaiians have experienced through colonization, creating various obstacles related but not limited to cultural identity, language and educational incompetencies, new health and mental health problems, low socio-economic status, poverty and homelessness.

Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana is a free professional clinical therapeutic offering available in both English and ‘Olelo Hawai’i.

Would you, a friend or a client you serve benefit from participating in the Ho’ola Pilina ‘Ohana Program? Apply online below or download a printable PDF version of the referral form here. For more information about Hoʻōla Pilina ʻOhana program, call (808)965-5550 or email



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