KAHULUI - A Salvation Army emergency drop-in shelter program for homeless Maui men will be shutting down at the end of the month due to cost issues.
Many of them, however, may not lose the temporary roof over their heads; the Family Life Center in Kahului is ready to open a new facility for men at the beginning of August.
The Salvation Army's Booth Emergency Drop-In Shelter (BEDS) program has provided a place to stay, shower facilities, and breakfast and a snack to 28 men for a few nights at a time for the last three years, said Maj. Iva West, Salvation Army Maui County corps officer.
Due to funding issues, The Salvation Army will be closing its emergency shelter program for homeless men at its Kahului facility on Kamehameha Avenue at the end of the month. The nonprofit agency has been offering a place to stay for a few nights per visit to 28 men for the last three years.
TINA IMADA photo
"Stayed full, 28 men per night for the last three years," she said Monday. "And we are open seven days week."
The Salvation Army has been receiving an annual $90,000 grant, which did not cover the entire cost of running the program. The nonprofit agency could not continue to fill in the financial shortfall.
"It's a lack of funding," West said in explaining the discontinuation of the program on July 31. "We are not able to get increases to our grants.
Costs related to maintenance of the facility and liability were among the major factors. She noted that The Salvation Army runs character building programs for youths as well as other teen programs and programs for women at its Kahului facility on Kamehameha Avenue.
The Salvation Army was hoping to find another facility to continue the program but was not successful, she said. West added that original plans called for building a new facility for BEDS but those plans have fizzled.
The agency has been working to place BEDS program clients in other homeless programs. Half have been placed so far, said West, who with her husband, Brian, serve as Maui County coordinators of The Salvation Army.
Others have been more difficult to place, especially in transitional housing programs such as Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers, due to strict drug and substance abuse policies, she said.
Those who cannot be placed may be out in the community as they were before the program began.
"We are hoping we can work something out with them," she said.
Those in the BEDS program are homeless due to substance and drug abuse, mental health issues and the high cost of housing, she said. Others just "don't do well coping in society," she added.
West said that The Salvation Army will continue to operate the William Booth Safe Haven, a drop-in center that provides basic services to the homeless, including hot meals, showers, laundry facilities, substance abuse counseling, telephone facilities to help the unemployed in job searches and referrals to community resources.
"It's been a very difficult decision," West said about the closure of the program. "They are good people. They just have problems."
The timing of the closure coincides with the expansion of the Family Life Center to include men.
Maude Cumming, executive director of the Family Life Center, said Monday that her program has added 35 beds with the recent completion of renovations. The center currently serves homeless women and children only in 15 beds.
"Hopefully by August 1, we will be able to take in men," said Cumming, who also heads the Maui Homeless Alliance, a coalition of nonprofit and government agencies that works with the homeless.
The Family Life Center on Kane Street will not be able to take in all 28 men currently in The Salvation Army program, she said. The center may be able to handle about a dozen men in the smaller downstairs room of the two-story facility, she said.
The center will accept the men under the same terms as The Salvation Army BEDS program, Cumming said, noting that there will be no drug test.
"We expect that some of them (from The Salvation Army) will be able to come here," she said. "Our own goal is that it is just emergency (housing)."
The center will be doing assessments of those admitted to its homeless program to discover what their barriers are to housing and to develop a plan for transition into regular housing, she explained.
"We serve some of the same clients (as The Salvation Army)," said Cumming. "Hopefully, we can move people into housing."
* Lee Imada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.