Office of the Governor – News Release – First Medical Respite Kauhale Units ArrivePosted on May 9, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases
HONOLULU, HI ̶ Governor Josh Green, M.D., celebrated the arrival of the first units for Hawai‘i’s first medical respite kauhale, or village,steps away from the State Capitol, his home, the State Departments of Health and Education, and across the street from The Queen’s Medical Center.
“We are building a medical respite kauhale in our own backyard because in many ways it is an epicenter of people suffering from a lack of care and hygiene support – and because we want to lead by example,” said Governor Green. “We need to say ‘yes in my backyard.’ We can and will welcome partnerships to provide the services they need to put them on a path toward healing; we can and will show aloha to our neighbors.”
The 10-unit village is being constructed by nonprofit HomeAid Hawaii in the mauka-most section of the Department of Health parking lot, will be completely fenced and will have 24-hour private security. A separate hygiene trailer is being provided by the nonprofit Project VisionHawaiʻi (PVH), which will provide round-the-clock staffing at the kauhale for intake, supervision and care coordination. PVH will also provide registered nurses who will make daily rounds.
The hygiene trailer will be available for all housed and unhoused neighbors in the community that need a hot shower or to use the restroom.
“By adding these resources and the infrastructure which is quite substantial, it moves us into a safer place, not a more risky place. Action of this sort has been sorely needed, in order to avoid a large explosion of need, as we’ve seen elsewhere around the island,” said Governor Green. “Additionally, you’re going to have dedicated security and the focus of the multiple agencies to provide services here on the spot.”
The Capitol District kauhale design, like previous kauhale designs in Wai‘anae and Kapolei, is responsive to feedback and addresses surrounding community needs. “The design process accounted for the privacy of both kauhale residents and state employees who park in the adjacent lot, as well as people who walk through the area to get to their offices,” said Chief Housing Officer Nani Medeiros. “The exterior design is inspired by the ‘ōhiʻa lehua blossom, which is often the first to bloom after a lava flow and which embodies resiliency and thriving amid destruction,” she said.
The groundbreaking medical respite facility will serve people experiencing homelessness who are released from hospital inpatient beds, as well as people without homes who are discharged from the emergency room and have nowhere to go.
“It is important to emphasize that this is a temporary kauhale for medical respite,” said James Koshiba, Governor Green’s Coordinator on Homelessness. “It is designed to address a gap in our current systems that discharge medically frail people back into homelessness. This is one step in the process, while we also work to open up respite beds in existing community facilities in about six months.”
The most familiar type of kauhale to date comprise tiny homes, but the broader concept encompasses multi-family dwellings, including apartment buildings.
“These are intended to be spaces where communities are built, whether they are temporary or permanent. No matter what it looks like, kauhale are spaces where people take care of each other and take care of the place together, and that includes having support from surrounding neighbors, and that’s us,” said Koshiba.
The medical respite kauhale is expected to receive its first residents before the end of May, preceeded by a Community Day. That day, donated goods will be delivered, and Capitol District state employees will volunteer to assemble bed frames, move in furniture, and put the finishing touches on the units.
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Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i
Cell: (808) 798-6081
Email: [email protected]
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi
Cell: (808) 265-0083
Email: [email protected]