In our hearts, we know that children should never experience homelessness! Yet child and family homelessness persist in our community. Data from March of 2018 indicates that on Hawaii Island there are approximately 180 children experiencing homelessness with their families.
That amount of child and family homelessness is not caused simply by poor parenting choices. Rather, it represents a moral failing of society. It is a social sin reflective of our collective choice to support and benefit from a social structure in which child and family homelessness are inevitable.
We have the resources to end family homelessness. Child and family homelessness persist because we have accepted it as normal. Acceptance is our sin. We lack the vision and the moral outrage to make the changes necessary to house every family and every child.
Children need to grow up in safe, stable, and nurturing homes. Housing our children and their families is one of the most basic and tangible things we can do to ensure the safety and well-being of our keiki.
Neighborhood Place of Puna is committed to ending family homelessness in Hawaii County. Fortunately, we are not alone in this work. We are part of a passionate collaboration of non-profits, churches, governmental agencies, and individuals working to end family homelessness in Hawaii County by the end of 2020.
We can end Ending Family Homelessness! There are currently less than 100 identified homeless families in the County. Many of these families are in emergency shelter. However, roughly a third are on the streets, camping in parks, or living out of their cars. A situation that is morally unacceptable.
Neighborhood Place of Puna is doing its part to end family homelessness. We now have the capacity to outreach to and connect homeless families with housing resources through the County’s Coordinated Entry System. More importantly, we are working with local faith communities to leverage church resources and expand family emergency shelter capacity. Shelter, however, is not housing. Shelter is temporary. It gets families and children off the street. It does not end homelessness. Ending family homelessness requires a community wide commitment to truly affordable housing.
Ending family homelessness begins with vision. Neighborhood Place of Puna is committed to the vision of a Hawaii Island in which children and families never experience homelessness. Hopefully, it is a vision that you can share.
Help us end family homelessness by donating to Neighborhood Place of Puna or by participating in the Interfaith Working Group on Ending Family Homelessness.