Categorized | Business, Volunteering

Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association presents $35,000 to Hawaii Island homeless services agencies


The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association presented a combined $35,000 to two Hawai‘i Island non-profit agencies focused on servicing homelessness, in partnership with the Institute for Human Services (IHS) and the County of Hawai‘i. The grants—to HOPE Services of Hawai‘i Island and Hawai‘i Rise Foundation—were presented at a reception on August 31 at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

“HLTA is a statewide organization, and while we are headquartered in O‘ahu, we have a chapter in each county and support each island, whether it be through our annual Charity Walk, or special presentations like today,” said Mufi Hannemann, President & CEO of HLTA. “Last year we made a $25,000 contribution to a non-profit group called Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity in consultation with Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., and the year before that, HLTA in collaboration with Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and the Institute for Human Services donated $25,000 to a group called the Maui Family Life Center. This year, we had similar discussions with Hawai‘i Island Mayor Harry Kim’s office and the Institute for Human Services, who both helped us identify these two agencies that we are proud to support.”

Through a matching grant, HLTA and IHS presented $20,000 to HOPE Services Hawaii Inc. to help fund their transitional housing program.

“Hope Services on Hawai’i Island has been the nexus for so much good work that has led to a drop of 32 percent in homeless numbers from 2016 to 2017. IHS is celebrating their success with a gift from the Hawai‘i for Hawai‘i fundraiser focused on ending homelessness. IHS has collaborated with Hope Services — on homeless families, those who are medically frail, and those who are mentally ill in particular, and we are heartened by their creativity and heart for the work,” said Connie Mitchell, Executive Director of IHS.

“We greatly appreciate the generosity of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association and Hawai‘i for Hawai‘i for their contributions and support. It’s a true testament of corporate and non-profit sectors partnering together to help the most vulnerable families and individuals in our community,” said Brandee Menino, CEO of HOPE Services Hawaii, Inc. “We have expanded our emergency shelter capacity by an additional 32 beds for men and begun operating our emergency shelters in Hilo and Kona 24/7. We are pleased to offer our shelter residents new beds and add comfort to those most vulnerable in our community, including the medically fragile and elderly. We have seen an increase in those who are 60-plus years and older experiencing homelessness. Thus, this grant will also help us meet the additional needs of older adults and those with the deepest needs to move into shelter and housing as quickly as possible.”

HLTA also presented $15,000 to support the Hawai’i Rise Foundation, through the recommendation of Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim. The funds will be used for a certified kitchen at Na Kahua Hale O Ulu Wini, also known as Ulu Wini, a low-income housing project built by the County of Hawai‘i in 2011 in Kona.

“We thank the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association for supporting county partnerships such as this,” said Will Okabe, Managing Director of Hawai‘i County. “The certified kitchen will open numerous opportunities for the Ulu Wini residents and public participants, starting with training individuals in the transitional housing community to lead a healthy lifestyle and become more self-sufficient by preparing and cooking nutritious food on a budget.”

“The Hawaii Rise Foundation would like to thank the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association for its generous donation. The certified kitchen this grant will fund will be used to not only feed the needy in the community, but potentially teach job skills and techniques to help individuals learn the culinary skills needed to find jobs in the travel and tourism industry,” said Mike Sohriakoff, President of Hawaii Rise Foundation.

The grant presentations took place in conjunction with HLTA Hawai‘i Chapter’s Charity Walk grant allocation ceremony, in which nearly $276,000 was dispersed among 60 Hawai‘i County non-profit organizations. The Charity Walk is an annual statewide fundraiser produced by the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association and the visitor industry which raises funds for various non-profit agencies. The 2017 Charity Walk raised $2.27 million for over 360 charities.

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