In this season of giving, if you are looking for ways to express your gratitude for how well life has treated you, St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church on King Street in Honolulu has a few suggestions.
Shallow Rent Subsidies
If you can make a commitment of two, three or four hundred dollars a month for any length of time, the church will use your shallow rent subsidy to move an individual or family into safe, decent housing. Whatever length of time you commit to is a chance for these individuals to restore some semblance of normalcy to their lives. It gives them a little breathing room to address the challenges that resulted in them finding themselves without shelter. The impact is immediate and it is real.
Fr. David Gierlach, Rector of St. Elizabeth’s and a leader in the Housing Now coalition says the contributions they have received so far are helping two families escape life on the sidewalk.
But there is room to do more. “If additional funds come in, I have a single dad raising alone two little ones (4 and 6). The mom is a meth addict and the younger child a drug baby. Dad works tirelessly to keep body, soul and children together and currently lives in a 10 x 10 studio that he frequently has insufficient funds to pay for,” says Fr. Gierlach.
If you are interested in helping in this way, St. Elizabeth’s makes it easy to donate.
Another program is a local version of an idea borrowed from the mainland. Laundry Aloha has church members heading out to places where folks in need are located. They hand out little packets of coins and soap, along with a blurb on the church. “The people we help get just enough money for two large capacity washes,” says Fr. Gierlach. But it makes a difference. Clean clothes are what ordinary people who are not living on the streets take for granted. For the houseless it is a luxury–and one step towards regaining a sense of normalcy.
These programs alone are not going to solve the problem of the thousands who are houseless. But they offer tangible, meaningful ways to be a small part of the solution here in Honolulu where too many are not living in Paradise.
And it’s one way to share the joy of the season.