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Tourism group gives $25,000 to assist homeless on Kauai

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The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association has donated $25,000 to help Kauai’s visitor industry address homelessness.

The funds were presented Thursday to Kauai Economic Opportunity Inc. during HLTA’s 189th general membership meeting at the Sheraton Kauai Resort.

“This is part of an ongoing effort started last year on Maui where we gave $25,000 to another nonprofit that served homeless individuals. We aren’t just focusing our efforts in Waikiki. It’s a statewide challenge,” Hannemann said.

On Maui, Hannemann said, HLTA focused on airline repatriation, which entails sending homeless individuals back to their home states.

“We’ve asked them to look at repatriation, but we’ve given them more latitude,” he said. Transitional or “bridge funding may be an option to help homeless people get clothes, jobs, rental assistance, whatever they need. It’s part of our ongoing commitment.”

HLTA, which has a history of pitching in to address homelessness and related issues, contributed $775,000 over the past three years, including the Kauai contribution. This year, Hannemann said, HLTA awarded a large grant to the Honolulu Community Action Program.

HLTA seeded the Institute for Human Services’ Waikiki outreach in 2014, and over the years has contributed additional funds from its visitor charity walks. HLTA’s nonprofit arm, the Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, also shored up the IHS Waikiki program when it ran short of funds earlier this year. HLTA is a partner in the upcoming Hawaii for Hawaii Concert, which will be held Oct. 22 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. That effort aims to raise $1 million for IHS.

A statewide trade organization, HLTA said it “represents 700 visitor industry members, 166 of which are lodging properties comprising almost 50,000 rooms.”

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