- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 15, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii faith leaders are seeking ways to better help a growing number of homeless residents who have been turning to churches for food and a place to sleep.

Dozens of leaders representing multiple faiths met with homeless service providers Monday to discuss giving to those in need, Hawaii News Now reported (https://bit.ly/1pkXFQX ).

The Institute for Human Services provided workshops on a range of topics for attendees, including helping mentally ill individuals and giving more effectively.

Family Promise, which relies on a network of churches hosting families for a week at a time, was praised for its efforts to assist the homeless and so was St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal. The Kalihi church has set up housing in the church’s parking lot for homeless families out of a converted shipping container.

“Our real push is for the intact families who are out there, who frankly don’t need services,” said Rev. David Gierlach “They just need a roof over their head. And there’s lots of them.”

Connie Mitchell, executive director of IHS, said the nonprofit organization is looking to see more churches taking in families in need of support while they get back on their feet.

“We really want our churches to consider that, if they have property,” said Mitchell.

Rev. David Rivers of Central Union Church in Honolulu said he has seen an increase in the number of homeless people showing up at his church over the past year. The church is considering opening a similar housing project on the property for families, he said.

“I think that we have the space,” Rivers said. “The next part is the conversation that would have to be had with the congregation about why we are doing this.”

Hawaii churches have also been working with nonprofits like IHS to seek out permanent housing for homeless people.


Information from: KGMB-TV, https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/

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