SERVING THE HOMELESS AT THE INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN SERVICES

Members of the Society of Young Leaders volunteered at the Men’s and Women’s shelter of the Institute for Human Services (IHS). Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered at IHS on Saturday. We hope that everyone had a meaningful experience.

At the men’s shelter about 200 meals were served. When we walked to the Men’s shelter we were met with a line of people of nearly 100 waiting for lunch to be served promptly at noon. As we entered the space, we saw a dining area, with roughly 40 seats. We were a little perplexed as to how all these people were to be fed with the size of the dining facilities, but as lunch was being served we understood the efficiency of IHS and how they are able to feed many people with their facilities. Prior to lunch we met the kitchen crew of 3 and a volunteer named DJ. DJ has been volunteering at IHS for approximately one year. He arrives in the morning and helps with breakfast/lunch, before leaving for his night shift job. His attitude towards giving back with his free time on a consistent basis, really inspired the group to do more. The most eye opening experience was seeing how many individuals that you would never realize were homeless. Sometimes, the most unfortunate circumstances (medical expenses, unexpectedly losing a job, etc) can happen to anyone. There were mattresses piled up in the corner to turn the cafeteria into a sleeping area at night. Laundry services and case management were available to help you get back on your feet. After all, the mission of IHS is to end homelessness.

About 30 meals¬†were served at IHS’ women’s shelter. When we got there at 12, the first meals were already served. We finished cleaning the area by about 12:45. There was a crowd of women waiting outside until they were allowed back into the living areas. We saw kids, who got to have pizza for lunch instead of chicken. For the adults, it was a comfortable meal with cake :). It seems like IHS really thinks about the people they are serving. The women we worked with were all very kind and grateful. One of the ladies gave us a tour at the end of the meal and she described knowing the people that come there, like family. They’ve made the place homier with the paintings on the walls and even in the elevator shaft, that admittedly reminded us of the tower of terror. Currently, there are about 34 families sheltered there and a dorm of bunk beds for single women. Case management is provided to assist you into transitional housing and to help you get back on your feet. Like the men’s shelter, laundry is also provided here. Unlike the men’s, this shelter has extended stay, allowing you to sleep in if you are working at night/have medical issues. There is a storage area and locker to keep your stuff. You can temporarily claim your spot here and make it your own for the time being. We saw stuffed animals on the beds, and beds pushed together for families to sleep on. As we left, all the women outside sent us off with thank yous.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT IHS

The Institute for Human Services is a comprehensive social services agency working to prevent and end homelessness in Hawaii. If you are interested in volunteering or donating to IHS, please see the links below:
Learn More About IHS
Donate to IHS via AUW