Navy Reservists offer a hand to support homeless shelter

Navy Reserve Sailors assigned to various commands at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam sweep the surrounding area during a community relations project at The Institute for Human Services (IHS) at Sand Island, March 3.

Story and photos by MC1 Nardel Gervacio

Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii

Navy Reservists attached to various commands on Oahu conducted a community outreach project during a monthly weekend drill at the Institute for Human Services (IHS), Hale Mauliola, a homeless shelter at Sand Island, March 3.

Service members started the day with landscaping and cleaning up of the shelter facility and its surrounding areas.

As part of the volunteer project, the group picked up litter and conducted landscape maintenance as well as applied stain finishes on a deck of a gazebo.

“Our whole unit came here to show our support for the NOSC [Navy Operational Support Center],” said Logistic Specialist 1st Class Simisi Fakatava, assigned to The Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistic Center.

Sailors apply wood stain on the deck at IHS.

“When I found out it was for the homeless, it was my chance to do something good for the community, as I try my very best to help those that are less fortunate than me whenever I can.”

The shelter consists of 25 modular containers that convert into double or single units and offers residents showers and restrooms, potable water, a central communal area, daily meals and transportation services.

“IHS is one of the largest organizations on Oahu working to end homelessness on the island,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Matthew Walkerfolks, assigned to Defense Information Systems Agency Pacific Command (DISA-PAC), and coordinator of the event.

“The organization supports an interim housing program for individuals who are transitioning out of homelessness and have found employment, and are seeking affordable permanent housing.”

Hale Mauliola is one of eight facilities on the island that are designed to accommodate a subpopulation of homeless people.

Sailors pick up debris at IHS.

“There are homeless seniors, homeless people from the mainland, chronic homeless people with mental illness and addiction, homeless veterans, there are people who are working but are homeless and homeless youth, who are underage and runaways,” said Kimo Carvalho, spokesperson for IHS.

Carvalho added, “Hale Mauliola is a fast transitional shelter type of settings. These are for people who have higher acuity. These people are mostly pet owners. They are working homeless, they have cars, a lot of them have IDs so they can get into housing pretty quick.”

While the project was expected to last all day, Sailors completed the maintenance in half the time.

“I enjoy working with my hands, building stuff, I like the outdoors and when I get an opportunity to do stuff like this, I’ll do it especially if it’s for a good cause,” said Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Kourtney Fausett, assigned to Surgemain at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

Sailors fill in soil in a planter box.

“I think it’s important as a unit (and for the Navy) to interact with the community and put a good face on things because we are not just faceless drones fighting wars in far away countries.”

The event ended with Angel Bryant, a development manager at IHS, thanking the Sailors for their hard work and support.

“We are so grateful to the NOSC Pearl Harbor group for coming out to volunteer at Hale Mauliola, and supporting our mission to end and prevent homelessness in Hawaii,” Bryant said.

“The hard work and enthusiasm to help exhibited by everyone who attended is a great inspiration to both IHS staff, and the clients we serve. For the individuals who are working to end their homelessness, seeing people who are willing to get involved and invest their time to assist our efforts provides them with a greater sense of support from the community at large, and hope for their own future.”

According to the Hale Mauliola web-site, the facility was opened in November 2015 in partnership between IHS and the Honolulu city administration.

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Category: Life & Leisure