For Those With Nowhere To Turn

By Pamela Menter
Wednesday - March 23, 2011 Share

By Pamela Menter, Program Director
Safe Haven

When I first came to Safe Haven eight years ago, I met a Safe Haven resident who absolutely adored nature. Each day she lovingly watered and tended to plants that she kept in pots outside as well as the weeds growing in the sidewalk cracks, all with the same attention and care. She was mentally ill, homeless and in serious need of treatment, which she continued to refuse for a long time. Through the committed and dedicated staff at Safe Haven, she learned to trust us, began a medication program, got her own apartment, and became a functioning member of the community.

Those we serve at Safe Haven have their lives changed in unimaginable ways. Many have been beaten down and isolated in a world of their own, severely mentally ill and homeless with nowhere to turn.

Ours is a safe haven for them, offering transitional shelter where they are treated with dignity and respect and they become involved in their recovery process. Even after they move out, Safe Haven remains a support to our alumni, some of whom come back to volunteer and serve as role models for newer peers starting off on their own journey to recovery.

Safe Haven staff at its downtown building

Since its founding 15 years ago, more than 485 people have resided at Safe Haven, 348 of whom have been placed in community housing. The success rate of Safe Haven consumers who have maintained this housing is more than 90 percent - proof positive that Safe Haven as a recovery model works.

Among our success stories is Trina, who says, “If it wasn’t for Safe Haven, who knows where I would be, maybe in jail or ending up dying on the street. Safe Haven has made me feel more confident and prepared for the real world.”

Located in the downtown/Chinatown area of Honolulu, Safe Haven operates as a partnership between two nonprofit organizations, Mental Health Kokua (lead organization) and Helping Hands Hawaii. We receive support from the city, state and federal governments and Aloha United Way.

The community also can assist through much-needed monetary donations to Safe Haven as well as bed linens and towels, personal hygiene items, adult clothing, canned goods, household furnishings for those moving on to outside housing, and retail gift certificates.

To learn more, visit our website,


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