Monday, February 8, 1999

New home needed
for Teen Challenge

The landowner has given notice that
the drug rehabilitation program
must be out by March

By Harold Morse


John Elleson is looking for a new home for Teen Challenge.

Its executive director says the drug rehabilitation program has received a notice from Oahu Sugar Co. to move from its Central Oahu location by March.

Mayor Jeremy Harris has asked Gentry Homes Ltd., which now leases the land from Bishop Estate, to allow Teen Challenge to stay there a bit longer.

Harris wrote: "John (Elleson) explained that it is an ideal location -- away from any residential area and large enough to provide many programs for their clients."

Asked if Teen Challenge might stay beyond March, Norm Dyer, president of Gentry Homes, said, "We're not sure at this point."

Discussion has gone on for some time, Dyer said. "It's being considered."

Pat Liu, project director of Gentry Homes, described Teen Challenge as a holdover tenant of Oahu Sugar Co. "Basically, their lease expired in December 1989 and they had earlier agreed to vacate the premises by October 1991," she said.

Teen Challenge -- between Mililani Memorial Park and a state correctional facility on Waiawa Ridge -- is located on a gated dirt road. "We built everything up there," Elleson said. The complex consists of two dormitories and a general purpose building -- with showers, office and staff housing.

Funding for Teen Challenge, which has been around for 30 years, comes from donations, Elleson said. "This is a whole volunteer program," he added. "It's all private donations."

Teen Challenge has a rehabilitation rate of from 78 percent to 84 percent, he said. The Mililani site normally has about 30 male clients in drug rehabilitation, and each one's residency lasts about a year, Elleson said.

But Elleson still can't find it a new home. "We're trying everything," he said. "I'm following every lead, talking to everybody I know. We're just at a standstill on what to do."

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