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Hawaii News

State plan will offset COFA costs by using federal funds

  • KRYSTLE MARCELLUS
    Connie Mitchell, executive director of the Institute for Human Services, says she has noticed older and sicker people coming to the shelter. Caring for those from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau — all part of the Compact of Free Association — is especially challenging because few qualify for U.S. benefits that would allow them to afford rent. Mitchell says the federal government should do more for the immigrants from Compact states. Justin Phillips, right, an IHS outreach specialist, talks with Ed Binder, 51, who was asked to leave the men’s shelter at IHS for possessing illegal contraband. Binder, who is undergoing methadone treatment for a heroin addiction, asked Phillips how he could get back into the shelter. Ruby Jetnil, above, a 54-year-old Marshallese woman, has lived in the single women’s dorm at the IHS?shelter for two years. Karen Penley, 28, cares for Zayden, 3, and Nakana, 10 months. The young mom, who says she’s a victim of domestic violence, says she still changes the older child’s diapers because the family hasn’t been in one place long enough to successfully complete toilet training. Keolyn Gideon, left, Irie Love Aioletuna, Charlie Lopes and Gabriela Fujiwara enjoy Summer Fun Program activities at the Institute for Human Services shelter in Iwilei.

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