ANINI — Wally Bond’s face lit up, and a big smile blossomed as he flashed a shaka after receiving a pair of glasses from Grace Meeks of Project Vision at the Anini Beach Park on Monday.
“I can see better,” Bond said following the field eye test to determine the strength of glasses he needed. “It was really hard for me, especially in the times when there’s low light. Now, I can see.”
Project Vision is one of more than a dozen nonprofit agencies that offered services and information at the Kaua‘i Housing Connect homeless outreach event presented by the Kaua‘i County Housing Agency and Kaua‘i Community Alliance in observance of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
“We’re all service providers that makeup Kaua‘i Community Alliance,” said Melody Lopez of Catholic Charities who had a booth in the circled offering near the park’s second pavilion. “This is the second year for Project Connect. Last year, we held the event at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall. This is the first year, we’ve brought the event to the open air where the people that can benefit from what we offer are.”
Some of the services available to the Anini Park population included flu shots, vision screening, food, personal hygiene products, and registration for housing vouchers and bus passes.
Ashton Varner of the county’s Housing Agency said the event was planned for the five Kaua‘i “safe” camps that in total accommodates 160 people.
“The permits are pretty much all gone,” Varner said. “I believe the Anahola Beach site has openings. But the other sites — Anini Beach, Lydgate Park, Salt Pond, and Lucy Wright Park — have all the permits spoken for.”
Registered occupancy at the camps include 43 adults and nine children at the Anini site, 28 adults and 16 keiki at Salt Pond, and 37 people at Lydgate, Varner said.
“No one group has all the answers,” said Sharon Graham, project manager for the Women In Need housing project. “Every agency lifts the other while we seek ways to fill the needs in the community.”
There will be two additional outreach events — Tuesday at the Salt Pond Beach Park, and Friday at the Lydgate Park — from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Officials will be wearing face coverings, and physical distancing measures will be observed. Officials are also asking participants to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths.
On Tuesday, participants of the Salt Pond Beach Park outreach event can catch a special shuttle, marked “Special” on the destination sigh on The Kaua‘i Bus from the Lucy Wright Park in Waimea. Pick up times at the park will be 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Return times from Salt Pond will be at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.
On Friday, participants to the Lydgate Beach Park outreach event can catch the special shuttle from the Eiwa Street bus stop in Lihu‘e, and from the Lihi Park in Kapa‘a. Pick up times in Lihu‘e will be at 10:30 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m.
Pick up times at Lihi Park will be at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.
The return from Lydgate Park will be at 11:30 a.m., 1:15 p.m., and 3:15 p.m.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.