In a crisis, the non-profit Kauai Economic Opportunity can provide short term relief, such as emergency food or funds for paying bills and housing costs. There are many other resources also run for struggling families or individuals, such as the Homeless Outreach Program and mediation services, all of which are aimed at those that are less fortunate in Hawaii.
Homeless Outreach is literally a mobile unit that operates in the community. The KEO Care-A-Van provides services to the homeless and recently evicted in the area where they congregate. Outreach includes serving a hot meal, and information such as intake, referrals, and other needed services. This is for eligible, unsheltered homeless persons.
The program’s goal is to assist in efforts by homeless clients to achieve healthier, more stable living conditions. The long term solution will be meeting the ultimate goal of permanent housing and self-sufficiency. The main phone number is 808-245-4077.
As a Community Housing Development Organization agency, KEO works with other organizations and partners in the development of affordable housing. The service, known as CHDO, is for low and moderate income Hawaiian residents. The components of it include the following.
Shelter Plus Care is when the government offers rental housing subsidies and support services for those who are chronically homeless. The program is for the disabled or those who are chronically dependent upon drugs or alcohol.
Emergency Shelter and Stipends include Lihue Court, Mana`olana and Puhi. These are all set up as transitional housing sites that provide safe and decent shelter to clients for up to a couple years. The program is combined with guidance in eliminating obstacles to obtaining and maintaining stable, permanent housing.
Kauai Economic Opportunity shelters offer safe environments for homeless individuals and families to reassess, stabilize, and take control of their circumstances. This is accomplished through coordinated provision of social services, health care, housing, and financial support.
KEO's Persons-In-Need Program provides one-time or temporary assistance for residents who are in need. The various resources are the Hopper Fund. This is a form of assistance for financially disadvantaged seniors, aged 65 years or older.
The Teresa F. Hughes Family Trust Estate is for physically or mentally ill adults, aged 70 years or older. KEO also provides assistance for children who have been neglected, abandoned, or who have resided in a household where abuse has occurred.
Seniors can also apply for the Margaret Cargill Fund. This is a grant based resource for financially disadvantaged seniors, aged 60 to 64 years.
Using funds from the KIUC Charitable Foundation, the Emergency Electric Bill Assistance Program provides help to customers whose electricity bills are past due. Eligible applicants who are unable to pay their utility bills may receive cash up to a certain dollar amount.
Partnering with the US Department of Energy, KEO provides free energy-efficient improvements to the homes of eligible low-income families through Weatherization. Through the use of the most advanced testing protocols, WAP enables low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills
Home improvement measures from Kauai Economic Opportunity may include solar water heating systems, shower heads, power strips, CFL light bulbs and other energy-efficient items. In addition, KEO works in close partnership with Maui Economic Opportunity to furnish new refrigerators or even freezers to households in need of replacements for units. The assistance is for units that are over ten years old and no longer energy efficient.
Congregate and home-delivered meals are for seniors aged 60 and over. This is done in partnership with Alu Like and Nursing Home Without Walls. The Elderly Nutrition Congregate Meals Program serves low cost (or free) hot meals at various sites, where participants also have the opportunity to socialize with their peers and take advantage of on site services that promote their health and well-being.
The other option, Meals on Wheels, delivers meals to home bound clients who are unable to travel to the congregate sites. Additionally, family support may be limited, leaving them with no one to help them eat as they should. KEO has volunteer drivers that meet those needs, and are trained to evaluate the clients’ physical condition and report any concerns to the Program Director.
Many senior citizen participants look forward to their meal deliveries, because the drivers show great love and empathy. Not only that, they may even be the only contact they have with other people on a given day.
Mediation Services from KEO can address a number of issues. Mediators from the agency facilitate dispute resolution in a confidential, informal and non-threatening manner, with the aim of avoiding court proceedings or preventing evictions. The fee charged to the client is nominal, especially when compared with court costs and lawyer fees. The mediator acts as an impartial third party, keeping the two sides on track and will hopefully find solutions for a mutually satisfactory resolution.
Early Learning Centers from the non-profit offer a year-round educational program for children through eight years of age. Children, from lower income families, will participate in activities that promote academic, emotional, social and cognitive development, either in groups or individually. These activities include language skills, physical education, health, reading skills, and personal care.
For more information on these programs, Kauai Economic Opportunity is located at 2804 Wehe Rd., Lihue, Hawaii 96766. Call the main number at 808-245-4077 for details.
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