Hui Aloha is people working to practice aloha in our own lives and communities. We think of aloha as practicing "one-ness" - healing separation and awakening awareness that we are all connected.
One area where we saw separation was in how our society approaches homelessness, with divided opinions, frustration, and stereotypes in public discussions. To find a way through division and back to connection, we first reached out to houseless people and built relationships with them. While many use the term homeless to refer to the situation of lacking permanent shelter, we also use the term 'houseless'. Our friends and community members have shared that this makes them feel less stigmatized.
It also highlights that, even though some may be without permanent houses to call their own, this does not mean that they lack a place they call home. Like our friends, we believe the lands of Hawai‘i offer a home. Over the past two years, our collective effort has evolved to include:
Supporting the efforts of houseless people to address problems like litter, vandalism, and maintenance of public spaces where they live.
Establishing weekly beach and park cleanups with houseless folks as one form of service to the wider community.
Supporting efforts to share personal stories that illustrate the diversity and humanity of houseless individuals.
Helping houseless people connect with housed neighbors, community associations, neighborhood boards, donors, and elected leaders.
Through this work, we've learned that community building starts with connecting person to person. As a sense of community grows, it can provide healing, hope, and purpose. Building community is often a better solution than creating new laws or programs. We've also seen that it is often those with the least who often give the most, providing examples of aloha for the rest of us to follow. We continually learn from Puʻuhonua O Waiʻanae and by practicing community-building in our own lives and neighborhoods.
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