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Thursday, December 31, 2020
River of Life to Leave Chinatown
By News Release @ 4:35 AM :: 2665 Views :: Honolulu County, Homelessness, Small Business, Tourism

City announces the selection of the River of Life Mission as the operator of the new resource center in Iwilei

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, Dec 30, 2020

HONOLULU – The City Department of Land Management is more than 50% complete on the construction of a new Resource Center and 27-Unit Studio Rental Complex in Iwilei, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. The Resource Center is designed to include a large commercial kitchen and dining facility of 100 plus seats to prepare and serve meals to chronically homeless, those at risk of homelessness and persons of low income needing assistance to meet daily nutritional needs. Other resources available at the site include a center to provide hygiene needs such as gently used clothing and footwear, hygiene supplies and personal grooming items. The Resource Center will include meeting and counseling rooms and a multi-unit apartment to house live-in staff for workforce housing training to learn culinary service and work in the commercial kitchen.

During the concept and design phase, the City initiated discussions with the River of Life Mission (ROLM) to determine whether a more optimal expanded facility could be constructed to provide essential meal service to those in need on a larger scale and in an area that provided other support services. The City acquired the former Montgomery Motors site on the corner of Iwilei Road and Sumner Street for $3.9 million and proceeded with the design and construction of the Resource Center that could accommodate large numbers of persons within the property to reduce public impacts on the sidewalks, streets and surrounding neighborhood. The project site has great synergy with providers of supportive services as it is across the street from the Institute for Human Services Men’s Shelter and next door to the City’s Pūnāwai Hygiene Center that provides a daily opportunity to homeless persons to shower and do laundry. The City has selected ROLM to operate and manage the Resource Center. Under current negotiation is an operating and management contract for use of the facility, where ROLM will provide daily food service for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and provide counseling and other services to persons visiting the Resource Center. Upon completion of the project, slated for May 2021, ROLM would relocate its daily food service operation to the homeless and others in need from Chinatown to the Resource Center. Details on the operating and management contract are still being worked on. 

“River of Life Mission has served a vital service in our community for over three decades and counting”, said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “During the pandemic, as food insecurity rose across O‘ahu, River of Life switched to serving to-go meals to make sure our most vulnerable population was still taken care of and in a safer way. We’re glad that we are providing a platform for this non-profit organization to find a new space to continue its essential services in an area that’s central to the need.”

ROLM Board Chairman Rann Watumull commented, “ROLM is excited at the prospect of expanding its reach to help the homeless with our services, and partnering with other organizations whose mission aligns with ours. Once the management contract is agreed on, ROLM looks forward to conducting its public feeding program at the Resource Center.”

The Iwilei Complex will also include a separate building of 27 studio units for very low income affordable rentals. Each unit will include an efficiency kitchen with stove and refrigerator and a bathroom suite. The property manager for the project has yet to be selected.

The project architect/engineer is G70. The general contractor is Allied Builders and the construction management firm is SSFM. The total project budget for the Iwilei Complex is $17.2 million.


HNN: City taps River of Life Mission to run part of new homeless resource center

SA: River of Life Mission to shutter Chinatown food program, relocate  

SA: Iwilei is now becoming a kind of “campus” for homeless care


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