Lawrence Kauaha`aha, CEO of Ho`omaika`i Services, has been awarded a grant from the County of Maui for his new “Clean and Safe” program in Wailuku.
Kauaha`aha, a retired police officer, is partnering with Mental Health Kokua (MHK) to hire homeless adults with mental illness to clean the trash in downtown Wailuku.
“We are here to come together as a community to revitalize Wailuku Town,” said Kauaha`aha. “[Clean and Safe is] a process that will bring us together and unify us all and not exclude anyone or any particular groups–a program we can all be proud of.”
The “Clean and Safe” grant also provides for the hiring of “ambassadors” who will provide friendly outreach where homeless adults congregate in downtown Wailuku. Ambassadors will talk with the homeless, connecting them with MHK for housing and healthcare.
“There’s an old saying that ‘work is the membership card to society’,” said MHK CEO Greg Payton. “At Mental Health Kokua, we are proud to help put homeless adults with mental illness back to work and lead productive lives.”
Many of the homeless adults served by MHK have had careers before mental illness contributed to their homelessness.
MHK was founded in 1973 as a non-profit corporation in which the mission is to assist people with mental health and related challenges to achieve optimum recovery and functioning in the community. Ho`omaika`i is also a nonprofit.
Photo of Lawrence Kau`aha`aha (second from left) with employees of Ho`omaika`i Services courtesy Don Lane/Mental Health Kokua