Shuttles Ferry Homeless To Jobs

Rasa Fournier
Wednesday - September 08, 2010
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The nonprofit H-5 (Hawaii Helping the Hungry Have Hope) has four buses, such as the ones shown here, that transport the homeless from shelters in Kalaeloa to nearby job sites. Photo courtesy of H-5.

A new shuttle service began last month in Kalaeloa to transport the homeless between shelters and nearby job sites as well as to the Kapolei Transit Center.

The service is operated by Hawaii Helping the Hungry Have Hope (H-5) using two donated buses and two vans. According to Utu Langi, founder and director of H-5, the shuttle has proven to be a much-needed service.

“The residents of these shelters have been waiting for such a service, since the distance from the shelters to the Kapolei business center is about 2.5 miles,” said Langi. “Now families with young children no longer have to walk to get to the nearest store. Many will begin to have more flexibility with job hours and doctor appointments.”

Shelters served are the Onelauena Shelter, Homeless Veterans Substance Abuse Program, Hale Ulu Pono Shelter and Kumuhonua Shelter. The shuttle runs seven times a day Monday through Friday, and six times a day on the weekends.

“Since the start of this service on Aug. 9, we’ve had a total of about 54 passengers per day,” Langi noted.

The program is being contracted by the city, and a collaboration among Hawaii Community Development Authority, Waianae Community Outreach, the state Department of Human Services, the Federal Transportation Administration, H-5 and the city provides the necessary funding.

The approximate cost of operations for one year is $148,000. A contract already has been finalized for a second year, and H-5 will soon apply for a third.

“As long as there is a need and the funds are available, we’ll continue to serve our folks out there in Kalaeloa,” Langi promised.

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