HLCF Grant Helps Kauai Families Experiencing Homelessness
Each year, the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund (HLCF) awards grant funding to Hawaii nonprofits. Supported mostly by contributions from Hawaii Life’s 350+ agents across the state, the HLCF’s annual grant program chooses a new giving focus each year. In 2021, grant funding will focus on assisting Hawaii families in need of shelter, food, health care, and education to live as healthfully as possible.
Makana Kamibayashi heads up the Family Life Center (FLC), located on Umi Street in Lihue, Kauai. Kamibayashi recently shared the meaningful impacts HLCF funds made on Hawaii residents served by the Family Life Center. The Kauai nonprofit organization works to make homelessness on Kauai and Maui rare, brief, and non-recurring. It’s a common mission statement shared by many nonprofits that serve a growing number of families impacted by the current economic crisis.
Family Life Center connects houseless individuals with resources to help them gain the skills necessary to sustain permanent housing. Kamibiyashi makes an important distinction, noting that their efforts are not to be confused with “managing homelessness.” They don’t simply supply goods to meet someone’s immediate survival. Their mission is focused on long-term solutions.
Family Life Center’s strategy is one of prevention and diversion — reducing homelessness by providing for immediate needs and presenting alternatives that would prevent families from becoming houseless. One example is the provision of immediate rental assistance to ensure a family doesn’t end up on the streets.
HL: What are some specifics about the work you do?
MK: The FLC Kauai office has programs to provide rapid re-housing and homeless prevention assistance to families and individuals who are either homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless by supplying security deposit, first month’s rent, utility deposit, rental assistance funds, and housing case management support.
HL: How did the grant from the Hawai’i Life Charitable Fund help you serve the community?
MK: We were able to house homeless individuals and families by providing their security deposit, utility deposit, and rental assistance.
HL: Who has been impacted positively by your organization’s work (and directly or indirectly supported by the Hawai’i Life Charitable Fund’s grant)?
MK: FLC housed a 58-year-old male, self-reported as being homeless on the street since 2007, with a permanent housing rental unit on state-subsidized property. Although this client’s financial need was minimal (security deposit), his need for housing case management was imperative as he struggled to acclimate from surviving in the elements to living indoors. The grant greatly helped in our ability to supply that case management.
FLC housed a homeless mother and four children fleeing from domestic violence by providing their security deposit and rental assistance. The grant allowed us to provide this family with a safe space for living.
FLC housed a family of five, one [family member] with autism, who was homeless and living in their vehicles for nine months. We provided a utility deposit, security deposit, and rental assistance to help stabilize this family in permanent housing. Once housed, the family experienced the stability needed to positively improve their mental health and were so grateful for the assistance they received. The grant allowed FLC to provide basic needs to these households and they are still permanently housed today.
HL: Is there anything you’d like to say to the givers from Hawai’i Life Charitable Fund?
Thank you for allowing us the ability to reach the vulnerable in our community.
Covid-19 has increased the needs of nonprofits like Family Life Center. Today, on GivingTuesday, we encourage you to contribute in whatever way you can to help those less fortunate in our communities who are struggling this holiday season. We listed a number of ways to share aloha in the article, below. Even if you cannot afford to donate money, every generous act can have a meaningful impact in our community.
Mahalo to all who donate to the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation. You can also donate directly to the Family Life Center online by clicking the donate button on their website.