The Hale Pono Youth Shelter, located at 1727 Wili Pa loop in Wailuku, will be a safe place for youth 12-17 years old of all genders. The privately funded shelter serves those in need of a sanctuary until they can be reunited with their families or find other supportive living arrangements. The shelter will have 13 beds and serve as short-term housing for youth and a hub for referral of services. Renovations are underway and the project aims to open in the Spring of 2023.
The only criteria for entry are that youth can perform basic self-care and are not a danger to themselves or others. Access to the shelter and its programs will be completely voluntary. Hale Pono programs and activities will be free of charge and open to youth in the community. Youth do not need to be residing at the shelter to participate in programs.
The goal will be to have stays of 30 days or less, as the primary goal of the shelter is family reunification or placement into long-term living arrangements. Hale Pono is not a treatment facility of any kind, though therapeutic and other needed services will be coordinated for youth and their families as needed.
Currently, there are few other shelters in Maui for youth and their families. Hale Pono will be unique in its focus on short-term stays and thus its ability to serve a large number of those in need. Though youth may only stay at the shelter for a short period, Hale Pono strives to be a hub for referrals to other community programs, services, and resources available to Maui youth.
At Hale Pono, the foundation strives to go beyond basic needs (food, clothing, shelter) and meet as many needs as they can: love, respect, collaboration, cooperation, and being heard and seen for who you are. They are creating a space where youth can re-boot, recharge, and re-energize their lives in a positive and fulfilling direction.
“In certain situations, youth and families can benefit from time and space from one another,” explains David Litman, Director of Programs and Training at Teran James Young Foundation. “Some youth are not in tenable living situations and need a safe space with support while long-term plans are being made.”
One of the offerings the shelter will provide is conflict resolution skills that allow youth to resolve conflict positively and safely which increases connection and meets the needs of all. All programs and procedures of Hale Pono are based on Nonviolent Communication, Restorative Justice, and Trauma-Invested Principles.
The Wailuku shelter hopes to open in the Spring of 2023. The timeline is dependent on the completion of renovations that will ensure maximum youth safety and comfort. All building permits have been attained and construction is proceeding well. The outside of the building has been rejuvenated and the inside renovations are proceeding on schedule. All policies and procedures have been designed to support the youth and keep them safe and are modeled after The Salvation Army Family Intervention Services (FIS) on the Big Island, and other continental U.S. shelters.
As the opening of the shelter approaches, Hale Pono will be needing staff, mentors, and volunteers to support the youth going forward into adulthood in the best possible way so that they can discover and use their gifts for themselves and our society.
“Hale Pono is based on our belief that each person of any age is precious, and that love, honor, and respect are the keys to supporting and encouraging everyone’s gifts, happiness, self-respect, and success in life,” co-founder Sulara James points out.
For more information about Hale Pono and to find out how you can support this key effort in Maui County, you can contact Program Director David Litman at 808-866-0833 [email protected].