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VOICES: Kupuna need assistance in crisis, too

In response to the article by Stephanie Shinno in The Garden Island, Jan. 17, 2021, titled “A crisis within a crisis,” I would like to commend the county agencies, County Council and nonprofits that have joined together in the effort to house the homeless.

Much has been done in this past year, but there is much more to still accomplish.

I understand that priority has been focused on families with children, which is appropriate, but kupuna seem to be left out. The statistics show that 14% of all the homeless on Kaua‘i are kupuna, many who are raising their mo‘opuna or grandchildren in the camps.

I would like to suggest the creation of a website or digital hub that brings ALL of these entities together.

As a kupuna participant of the nationally-recognized PLTI, Parent Leadership Training Institute, I am creating a program to specifically help the keiki and kupuna in the camps as my community project.

It currently is difficult to reach out to various nonprofits and individuals working in this area. It would be helpful to know what each organization is currently focused on regarding the homeless issue, as well as contact information for each.

Also, I would like to see the leadership here on Kaua‘i reach out to Senator Schatz and Representative Kahele to tap into some of the federal monies to assist our state and county efforts. The new stimulus package provides monies focused on helping the “housed” pay their rent. I would like to see some of those funds channeled to the “houseless” community.

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Barbara Penn is a resident of Wailua.
Source: The Garden Island

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