Frequently Asked Questions
This is a perfect place for students who are writing a school report and need information. Other pages of our website that would provide a good resource for you will be the "Who We Are" and "Our Story & Statistics" pages that you can find in the main drop down menu. If you have further questions, please use the questionnaire in the Contact page.
Mahalo again for your wonderful interest in helping our homeless keiki.
How, Why, and When did Project Hawai'i Inc. get started?
WHEN: Project Hawai'i Inc. started on the Big Island in 2002 and then expanded to O'ahu in 2006. Project Hawai'i was formally Christmas Wish Program, Inc. and began in the California bay area in 1988.
HOW: Project Hawai'i was developed by a few dedicated volunteers who truly wish to see the poverty end among the homeless children on our islands. We have all the proper forms, filings, and legal standing to be a nonprofit. We do not have paid staff or government funding. We rely on the aloha spirit of our public donations to support our keiki needs.
WHY: Co-founder of Project Hawai'i Magin Patrick responds that taking care of the homeless children is what she was truly born to do. "It is hard to explain. I have been asked about my degree, if I went to school, or why is this important; and it is truly my life mission. My "kuleana" here on earth. So, like a musician, or an artist, or someone who just does what their soul feels, that is what it is to me. I started this program at the age of 16 on the mainland."
How is Project Hawai'i Inc. funded?
Project Hawai'i Inc. is solely supported by public donations. That means we rely on the support of public donations, community grants, and fundraising efforts conducted throughout the year. Companies often sponsor, community groups often conduct fundraisers, we host bake sales, work with local schools, and participate in community events that allow us to raise awareness and funds. We do not receive any funding by the county, state, or government.
How does a donor or volunteer know that their efforts make a difference?
Project Hawai'i Inc. is not a band-aid or quick fix. It is a process that allows the homeless children the opportunity to build self-esteem as well as life and social skills that will help them to escape their cycle of poverty. Our experience strongly supports that children do escape this cycle.
Teens go back to school and earn GED's, gain employment, attend college, and more. Single moms move into homes, secure jobs, and stop their cycle of homelessness.
Since this is what WE CHOOSE to do, we too want the same success for these precious children as all of you. We are with them every step of the way and will continue to provide support as they transition into their new journey of living in a home.
Who and where are the children that Project Hawai'i provide services to?
We provide year round services to children under the age of 18 on both O'ahu and the Big Island who live in poverty stricken, substandard make-shift housing situations. This can include cars, tents, abandoned structures, and other non traditional housing options. These children live without running water, electricity, and basic life needs.
We do not provide services to children who live in shelters. Those facilities have government and other support to provide the needed resources for the families. We choose to focus our resources on the homeless keiki as that is where we feel we can make the most positive impact we can for the benefit of the keiki.
How many homeless children are here in Hawai'i?
How many children does Project Hawai'i, Inc. care for annually?
Point of Contact Statistics show that there are approx. 23,000 homeless children on all the islands comprising the state of Hawai'i. The AVERAGE age of a homeless PERSON is just 5 years old and there are approx. 1,500 homeless children UNDER the age of 5. The homeless crisis is NOT just the adults and veterans of our state. It is the children!
Project Hawai'i provides services to approx 1,500 individual homeless children throughout the year.
What does that mean?
Project Hawai'i' will reach and make a positive impact on 1,500 homeless keikis each year when adding up all of our heartfelt programs throughout the year. This does not mean that we provide 1,500 children services at the same time. It is difficult to have exact numbers as there are so many external factors that affect our homeless population. We conduct monthly outreach and will find new homeless children, lose track of some due to encampments being swept and so on, but will never stop looking for these precious keiki as they depend on Project Hawai'i and the care we provide.
How does Project Hawai'i, Inc. find these children?
Project Hawai'i, Inc. volunteers conduct monthly outreach to not only ensure our current homeless keiki are provided for, but to also seek out new homeless families. This means we go into the bushes, up in the mountains and other areas that might be "perfect" for families to pitch a tent. It used to be so much easier when the 10 miles of the Wai'anae Coast was filled with tents...but now we have to search them out. We do provide island wide outreach, but our primary locations on O'ahu are West O'ahu, Aiea and Waimanalo
We do provide island-wide services on Big Island as well. Since we have such a wonderful support system on Big Island, we no longer have to seek out the homeless, they come to us by the hundreds to our events.
What does "OUTREACH" consist of?
How often does Project Hawai'i, Inc., conduct their outreach?
Outreach is our main way of keeping in touch with the homeless children already in our program, as well as locating new homeless keiki in desperate need of our support. Outreach helps us build the trust with the families that allow us to help their children grow and begin the process of escaping the cycle of homelessness. Outreach consists of our volunteers delivering hygiene, food, clothing, and emergency necessities to the children living in the bushes, cars, tents etc. Depending on the holiday or the season, we will also deliver other items and supportive care needs. Our outreach also includes the opportunity for the families to let us know what their needs are for success. We also are on call and will provide services as needed with in 24 hours
Project Hawai'i, Inc., provides outreach at least twice a month. This program is dependent on the public support and resources provided by you for our keiki.
What is the main reason for homelessness?
Why are these families homeless?
This is a very difficult question that does not have easy answers. There are stereotypical homeless situations, but we deal with the children and families that don't always fall with within those stereotypes.
Please use this with extreme caution and consideration AND WITH RESPECT for the children's sake. I love these children and only wish the best for them. These following answers can be taken out of content and truly hurt them...so please use with caution.
In my opinion from years of experience and working with these families across the islands....my number one reason for the homelessness is LACK OF EDUCATION, socially, emotionally and educationally. What does that mean? To begin with, most of the parents are illiterate and cannot even fill out a simple application. Socially, they don't have the "normal" social and behavioral skills to participate in the "real" world such as hold down a job, have mainstream friends, or live a lifestyle that would be considered socially accepted. And emotionally/mentally, these families are not equipped to take on the mental challenges of everyday life. THIS STATE has failed these families from the parents down to the child due to lack of proper care for these families before this situation happened.
It comes down to the basics. If a person doesn't have the basic life skills needed to survive, hold down a job, skills to pay simple bills, concept of budgeting, and so forth....they cannot under any circumstances change their path from the track of homelessness. So, people say, there isn't enough affordable housing, or there aren't enough jobs, or they are on drugs, the list goes on and on, BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE! The families we provide service to are not even close to being ready for those responsibilities. So without the proper life and social skills, money won't help, free housing won't help, nor would a job help... It has to start with education.