Letter: Use of Punawai services gearing up
Since the program is new, most social service contacts are intakes, which by their nature take a long time.
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I’m grateful for Dan Nakaso’s article covering the Punawai Rest Stop (“Homeless flock to Iwilei rest stop, but few use social services,” Star-Advertiser, Feb. 4).
But as its program director, I was disappointed by both the headline and by the assertion that the program provides social services to “no more than” eight people a day.
We are experiencing a gradual uptick in usage, slowly but surely. Since the program is new, most social service contacts are intakes, which by their nature take a long time. The program now has two case managers, but when the story was written, it only had one. We expect the number of people accessing social services to double from what we now serve.
We already have our first success story: a young man who, after getting help at Punawai, has started a job as a chef in Kakaako. The staff of the program and I are very proud of the work we’re doing and feel that things are going much better than we expected.
This is partly due to the hard work of the staff. However, it’s also due to the graciousness, good behavior and positive thinking of the homeless people we serve.
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