Please allow me to open this page with a reality our families face. Our agency is unique and work with families who cannot seem to fall into other resources available to "low income, or poverty stricken" categories. One example is: When the state and county opened up their first and largest "low income housing project" that was designed to help alleviate the homeless crisis. As well intentioned that program is, our families don't qualify. First one has to be employed before being accepted. So no need to go further. Our families need to develop basic life and social skills to even become employed, let alone qualify for housing. One reason we work so hard to help shape the future of their children through education and supportive services. (towards the bottom of this page there is more information about the importance of our program)
Homeless Keiki Statistics in Hawai'i
COSTS TO THE PUBLIC that we are addressing to make an impact on our tax payers
$325.5 million of Hawaii’s Education budget was allocated for students with disabilities. (approximately 23.2% of the overall budget) Many homeless children are stuck in these classes simply because they lack the social skills to be in standard classrooms.
Hawaii spends $150,000 - $200,000 per child each year to incarcerate juveniles. Keeping these children from dropping out of school and ending up in juvenile incarceration, our state saves $150k - $200k per child per year that can be allocated elsewhere to improve the community.
The public cost for Hawaii of teen childbearing from 2010 was $32 million. These numbers soar higher when one takes into account that the teen and the child will then end up on public assistance.
Project Hawai'i Inc. works to reduce these public costs by supporting, caring for, and educating our children throughout the year that helps them stay healthy and gain the life and social skills they need to succeed. Please read about the Project Hawai'i Inc. process and impact in the sections below to learn more about the benefits we provide the community.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development notes there are 789 homeless children in Hawaii who are under 18 years old without a parent or guardian to care for them. With over 150 homeless teens living along the Waikiki Beach
45% of our island keiki are living at least 300% below the poverty income line
On the Big Island 90% of our public schools have over 75% of their keiki on a free or reduced lunch program. O'ahu has entire schools on their FREE lunch program.
Most teens are homeless by choice preferring to live on the streets rather than endure the abuse they suffer in their homes. Statics show that 90% of all homeless children have experienced domestic violence before the age of 3. While adequate statistics are not really available for those who have been sexually abused, or physically abused, this is a common childhood experience.
Only 8% of homeless teens are addicted to drugs
Children that are born into homelessness and poverty start dropping out of school in the 4th grade. Graduation is not in their plans.
Over one third of people using homeless services were members of households with children (37.0%)
1/3 of our homeless are Hawaiian born and raised, and over 70% have lived here over 10 years
Hawaii's goal is to have 25% of their high-school population to graduate by 2025. Project Hawai’i, Inc. has proven track record of having 90% of our teens graduate and more than 50% go on to college or obtain work. Our population is typically not the ones who are expected to hit these statistics.
Dangers of Homelessness for Keiki
Drugs and Alcohol Misuse
Project Hawaii's Take
-Co-Founder Magin Patrick
Homelessness is a cycle mostly caused by lack of basic education and life skills. Most of our homeless parents cannot read or write well enough to fill out an application. This ultimately leaves 70% of our keiki reading below grade level and not being taught basic life skills. Many people take for granted the ability to grow with proper life skills and exposure to simple processes of life. These children do not and it plays a HUGE part in the cycle of homelessness.
Many laws have passed for different reason. People don't understand when a bill or law is passed it has a huge impact on the homeless children. While most families can adapt and make adequate changes, these children cannot. For example in 2005, Gov. Linda Lingle made it a law that all children had to have athletic shoes to participate school activities, include recess. For our children this is not possible. So, we started the Healthy Hearts of Homeless Keiki program to provide new shoes for our keiki. Then policy 44210 was passed requiring school uniforms but were not offered free to homeless. This again is another burden we choose to take on and provide for them. Senate Bill 1093 was written by then Hawai'i Governor Neil Ambercrombie for the 2014/2015 school year and it raised the minimum age a child must be to 5 by July 31st in order to be able to enter kindergarten without special exemption. This results in far more of OUR homeless children having to spend one more year in the bush lacking basic life and social skills. This places our keiki severely behind in their educational development resulting in even less desire to continue their educational journey. While this might not seem so important to those who have daily basic skills living in a "regular" home, it is truly impactful.
Here is an example of one of our 4 year old boys living in the bushes:
He barely communicates with an understandable word. He is never dressed and lacks supervision or a routine. He is the oldest of 3 so really he has no one to follow other than his mother who suffers from drug abuse and a father who has been in and out of the prison system. Neither parent can communicate well nor do they possess the skills to even provide simple daily life needs for these children.
Children shouldn't be raised like this but in Hawai'i it is not a crime, it's just the way it is. While this boy will be able to go to school when he turns almost 6, he will not know the alphabet, colors, shapes, or even the basics of listening to a book being read to him. Watching television isn't always the best solution for childhood development, but at least then these children would be exposed to an experience of listening to a conversation or developing an understanding of something outside the poverty they know.
Here is an example of how a lack of simple basic life skills plays a role in never being able to escape poverty without intervention:
Picture a two year old boy waking himself up early in the morning without any supervision. While his parent sleeps in, this child will walk around in a diaper that needs to be changed and will be searching for anything to fill his tummy. As the parent eventually awakes, this child will not go through a routine of being dressed, brushing his teeth, sitting down for a meal, playing games with their parent. Rather he will run around on his own, his parent will yell at him for reasons unknown to him acts and eventually will turn enter kindergarten and be introduced to "real" life in a "real" classroom. This typically lands the homeless child in special ed, then a "daycare" class, and eventually finding his way to jail or worse.
This cycle has got to stop for change to start. Project Hawai'i Inc. does this one small step at a time.
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The Project Hawai'i Inc. Process
Project Hawai’i, Inc. is very unique in our approach working with these keiki. We are able to work with our children on different levels of support throughout the year that helps them to gain the life and social skills they need to succeed verses becoming a statistic and getting lost in the system. This takes the form of monthly outreach, dedicated teen mentoring, holiday care programs, and our award winning summer camp that offers complete back to school services like backpacks filled with supplies, new outfits, shoes and even school uniforms.
To break that cycle we believe we must provide for as much of a child's full needs as we can for as long as we can. This includes educating them, both academically and socially, and exposing them to a world outside of poverty and homelessness. We provide for the whole child by working throughout the year to provide life changing opportunities, events, and interactive learning to these children living in extreme poverty situations. This exposes them to things we take for granted but are essential for growing in a positive way and will change the path of their life.
Our clients require individual support and needs. We provide their needs as they arise, from needing support of emergency supplies, to helping them move into housing, or provide work clothing, a ride, child's school needs, etc.
Project Hawai'i earns your valued donations by helping our homeless children break the devastating cycle of poverty by building their self-esteem, keeping them healthy, and teaching them basic skills.
Another SUCCESS STORY
Project Hawaii's Executive Director Magin Patrick doesn't know what other poor families tell their children when Santa is a no-show, but she knows from experience what children think. They will think that it is because of something they did wrong. Project Hawai'i makes sure they know that Santa loves them and cares for them."
Norlyn Santiago was living in Pu'u Maile with her son and four daughters when Project Hawai'i arrived on Christmas Eve 2002. She remembers those first gifts of Legos and Girl Scout Barbie dolls that Magin handed out at the camp. Her daughters still have the dolls.
"My kids were sad, we were all sad. It was a really hard time for me. Somebody stole all my money, so I had no money for any Christmas presents at all," Santiago said. "When they came and they gave my kids those gifts, it touched my heart. It's the best thing that anybody could have done for my kids."
PROJECT HAWAI'I INC. IMPACT
When considering the public costs listed at the top of this page, we are able to save the taxpayers in some cases tens of thousands of dollars per child annually. Our impact to the community includes:
Making a commitment and investment in Project Hawai'i Inc. helps at all levels in the community.
We provide the services needed for these children and families to stop their cycle of poverty and homelessness.
We provide self-esteem and life skills training that leads to more high school attendees and graduates.
We provide education based summer programs and holiday break programs that help keep kids off the streets and away from drugs and other negative activities.
We work with small business owners to help our families become employed resulting in reduced or eliminated need of financial support from government and tax programs.
We offer internship and volunteer programs that help the families become work ready.
We provide supportive services for those who wish to participate in school based sports to keep their minds and bodies healthy, help them stay out of trouble, and support them in gaining the skills and self-esteem necessary to change their future.
Our teen mentoring program gets teens ready for success, graduation, higher education and changing their path to one that is positive for the entire community.
Project Hawai'i Inc. Ultimate Goal
We are very proud of our homeless keiki as they progress through our programs and utilize the life, social, and educational skills they have learned and make it to high school graduation. Their journey continues as we focus on getting them into the safe environment college provides. This is the ultimate goal we have for the children enrolled in our programs because we feel this will be what brings about permanent change for them and future generations.
It is a drastic change to go from living in a homeless encampment to being enrolled in a college or university. The possibilities are endless when you no longer have to worry about where your next meal is coming from or if you’ll have a shelter to sleep in when the sun goes down. The feeling of security and benefit that comes from the college education process will give them the tools and confidence to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness for themselves and their future generations.
100% of your donations are tax deductible
100% of your donation goes directly to our programs
Prefer to donate by mail and send in a check to:
Project Hawai’i, Inc. P.O. Box 1844, Kea'au, HI 96749