Drop in gifts worries shelter
The Institute for Human Services' director fears her departure will only further disrupt giving
Donations to one of the primary providers of meals and shelter for homeless people on Oahu were down by 40 percent last month.
How To Help
The Institute for Human Services provides shelter and meals to hundreds of homeless men, women and children daily.
It can be reached at 845-7150. Donations can be mailed to 546 Kaaahi St., Honolulu, HI 96817. Donations can also be made via the IHS Web site at www.ihs-hawaii.org.
"We're in trouble," said Lynn Maunakea, outgoing executive director of the Institute for Human Services.
"This time of year is a critical time for IHS," said Maunakea, who will leave the organization in December after a nine-year run as executive director.
"If it doesn't happen during this quarter, then we're hurting for the rest of year."
And Maunakea is worried her departure could only further disrupt giving.
In October, residents donated $62,338 to the nonprofit, which had projected to take in $104,000 over the course of the month.
Last year, the nonprofit met, and in some cases exceeded, its projections for October through December, when IHS makes much of its money for the coming year.
Maunakea suspects "donor fatigue" -- with the Gulf Coast hurricanes, a massive earthquake in Pakistan and other natural disasters -- was a major factor in the donation drop for October.
"I'm worried about what that means over the next giving months," she said, adding that she hopes her leaving does not also affect donations.
"The community has really played a major role in our success," she said. "I just want them to be there for the next executive director."
The organization's shelters are overbooked most nights, serving about 250 men and 60 single women and about 25 families, she said.
Recently, IHS opened its garage at the women's shelter to sleep 30 women on the floor.
"IHS is supposedly the safety net," Maunakea said, "and when the safety net starts turning people away, where do you go?"
A recent analysis of the 68 families housed at IHS during the 2005 fiscal year showed they made an average of $2,447 a year, Maunakea said. The highest salary was $23,000, and the lowest was next to nothing.
The average family size at IHS was four people.
In addition to housing and feeding the homeless, IHS provides counseling services and gives clients tools -- access to government aid, transitional housing and other programs -- to get off the streets.
When she leaves IHS, Maunakea will go to Kamehameha Schools, where she will head the Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation. The organization oversees aid and educational programs to needy native Hawaiians.
While there, she hopes to "extend the reach of Kamehameha Schools beyond the relatively small percent of the Hawaiian population that they are currently able to meet."