New Hilo facility for men off to a good start

More than two months after accepting its first clients, Keolahou — an emergency homeless shelter established at the old Hilo Memorial Hospital — is a refuge for Hawaii Island’s homeless men.

Since October, 46 individuals have been served, and the shelter, which currently has 25 available beds, has an average occupancy of 22.

Three people who have been in the shelter have been placed in permanent housing.

Keolahou is a collaboration between the state, county, Hope Services Hawaii and other community partners.

“I recently met a young man at Keolahou who had been living on the streets, and then in the camp behind Agasa Furniture,” Hope Services CEO Brandee Menino said in an email provided by the organization. “When the camp was swept (on Nov. 21), he came to stay at Keolahou. The next time I saw him was at our (recent) client holiday party and resource fair. … He told me he was moving into housing the next day!

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