Pastor’s Corner: News, Good News, and a Challenge

March 20, 2019

I have some news, some good news, and a challenge.

The news is that the group working on organizing a Family Promise affiliate in East Hawai’i has decided to cease those efforts. With only three congregations accepting the invitation to become Family Promise Host Churches, the Homelessness Hui of Interfaith Congregations in Action concluded that finding the necessary thirteen was increasingly unlikely. Granted, recruitment efforts had halted during the summer’s lava emergency, but they regretfully concluded that this was the wrong model for us.

The good news is that family homelessness has been sharply diminishing without Family Promise in place. In the last seven months, 67 families without shelter has fallen to 21 – and only six did not have an emergency shelter assignment (this does not include those displaced by lava). The Hui realized that emergency shelter for families with children was less of a puka than realized. A Coordinated Entry System among service providers had changed the system dramatically.

The good news is that we are truly in reach of functionally ending family homelessness in Hawai’i County. Frankly, my jaw is on the floor with amazement.

So here’s the challenge: Homelessness remains a heartbreaking reality for too many of our neighbors. There are other pukas to fill, other gaps to bridge. So… What are they? And how can we help?

With emergency shelter beds increasing this year, how can we increase the numbers of permanent dwellings, homes with affordable rents? Are there partners we can enlist to help this happen?

Further, how can we prevent people from losing their homes in the first place? A sad number of people live essentially one crisis away from houselessness. Their incomes cover food, shelter, transportation, and basic medical care – but not much else. A major new expense, or a loss of income, could put rent out of reach.

I don’t know the answers to these questions. Together, we can come up with some.

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: , | Posted on March 26, 2019

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