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Hale Kau Kau Update, New Homeless Shelter in Kihei

February 9, 2012
The Maui Weekly

Hale Kau Kau (house of food) is a meal program in South Maui that provides hundreds of free hot meals to those in need, but also provides meals to seniors and homebound individuals who are unable to feed or care for themselves.

Hale Kau Kau, located at St. Theresa Church, has been in operation 365 days a year since 1991. Given the current state of the economy, the number of those served has risen drastically.

Because Hale Kau Kau delivers its meals in near proximity to a residential area, a number of homeowners are impacted by individuals who are attracted to the meal program. There have been complaints from homeowners about vagrants, drinking, trespassing and drug use.

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Rep. George Fontaine held a meeting in December to discuss moving the Hale Kau Kau program to a new location--possibly a new homeless shelter which could be built near the new police station under construction.

Many neighbors support the concept of feeding those in need, but they do not feel that the location of Hale Kau Kau at St. Theresa Church is appropriate. They would like to see the meal program move to a more ideal location. As a result, several residents and homeowners contacted my office seeking to find a resolution to this issue.

On Dec. 29, 2011, I convened a meeting with the board members of Hale Kau Kau, St. Theresa Church, and Hale Kau Kau volunteers and neighbors who reside in the vicinity of the church. Also at the meeting were Maui Councilmember Don Couch, representatives from the Department of Housing and Human Concerns and the Maui Police Department.

For the last 10 years, I have been advocating for a homeless shelter in South Maui to deal with the growing problem of homelessness. The concept has been supported in the past, but has stalled because of the lack of available land, and the need to identify an agency to design and operate a facility. The proposal is to open a homeless shelter that would also provide a new location for Hale Kau Kau.

As a result of that meeting, we learned that the County of Maui may be willing to provide land near the new police station under construction. St. Theresa Church officials also stated that they are willing to run the new homeless shelter.

The Maui Police Department has stepped up enforcement in the area, and Hale Kau Kau is doing a better job of monitoring the area, which is providing some relief.

The Hale Kau Kau working group agreed to meet on a quarterly basis to continue the discussion. Our next meeting will be scheduled in mid-March. The meeting is open to the public, so if you have concerns about homelessness, please join us.

Contact our office toll-free at 984-2400, ext. 68525.



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