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Friday, July 7, 2023
Homeless Medical Respite Fills up in One Month
By News Release @ 4:52 AM :: 1697 Views :: Honolulu County, Health Care, Homelessness

PŪLAMA OLA KAUHALE FULL AS IT REACHES ONE-MONTH MARK

Office of the Governor Press Release, Jul 3, 2023

HONOLULU, HI – Pūlama Ola Kauhale, which opened last month in the backyard of Governor Josh Green, M.D., on the grounds of the Department of Health, reached its first month of operation and already has all beds filled and a waiting list formed.

The medical respite space processes intake through urban Honolulu hospital referrals for patients being discharged from in-patient stays and emergency rooms who would otherwise be released onto the street. The kauhale instead provides a safe and stable place to continue to recover with on-staff registered nurses who make daily rounds, and a social support team that provides ancillary services.

“We anticipated that the units would fill quickly due to the urgent need for this type of space, and that’s what we have seen happen. This is a good thing,” said Governor Green. “It means we’re having an impact on the lives of people who would otherwise be suffering more deeply.”

Pūlama Ola Kauhale program operator Project Vision Hawaiʻi (PVH) released initial project statistics, indicating 13 total intakes, 3 patient discharges, and a total of 189 unduplicated shower uses from members of the surrounding community during the first month of project operation. Despite hitting full capacity, PVH continues to process referrals for admittance as space opens.

“A month in, a full facility proves that space for healing is needed. High community shower usage identifies that our neighbors in this area needed the hygiene resource. But the project’s impact has already gone beyond that,” said Darrah Kauhane-Floerke, executive director of PVH. “Without this clean, safe, and peaceful space to recuperate, our patients wouldn’t be able to heal in the way we’re seeing. The support of our medical staff has avoided hospital readmittance in scenarios where residents of Pūlama Ola would have likely returned to the emergency department. Our social support team has led patients to connectivity through things like phones and one-on-one guidance on steps forward. We are focused on the overall healing process of our patients and look forward to more permanent housing options in kauhale projects.”

As Pūlama Ola Kauhale continues to meet the need for medical respite in its current nature, the Governor’s Office on Homelessness continues to press forward, toward permanent kauhale statewide. Several projects on Oʻahu and the neighbor islands are under consideration for resources that the legislature appropriated to support kauhale projects.

A mainstay of the kauhale concept, being piloted in a temporary capacity at the medical respite, is that there is no limitation on the length of stay, and that residents of the space live together as a community.

“Ultimately, we want each kauhale to be a community within the wider community,” said James Koshiba, the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness. “It’s only been a month, but we’re already seeing people at Pūlama Ola pulling together to take care of the space and each other. It’s similar to what I’ve seen happen within houseless encampments across the island. Community is at the heart of kauhale, and Pūlama Ola is demonstrating what is possible.”

Pūlama Ola Kauhale exemplifies a village living concept and the importance of partnership in implementation. Project construction was provided by the nonprofit HomeAid Hawaiʻi, while the kauhale is being operationally run by PVH and has been broadly supported by private businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, and the Capitol District community.

Digital assets here  Pūlama Ola 1 Month Update can be credited to Office of the Governor.

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KHON: Gov. says kauhale reaching capacity highlights need for more of these structures

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