Our Islands, Our Future

Monique Yamashita, Executive Director of Ka Hale A Ke Ola (KHAKO) Homeless Resource Centers, Inc., has over 15 years of social service experience in Maui County. Currently, as executive director of two homeless shelters, one in Wailuku and one in Lahaina, she has developed emergency COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of the clients and staff. “We are committed to doing what is best to protect our guests, tenants, staff, and vendors, and to do our part to prevent the transmission of the virus,” Yamashita said. “The County of Maui recently delivered tests for us to administer to provide reassurance of wellness in both of our facilities. In addition, we are so thankful for amazing friends in our community who have blessed us with handmade and disposable face masks and shields.”

Dedicated to serving the needs of the homeless and hungry on Maui, KHAKO has been providing emergency food and housing for over 30 years. They empower those in need to take responsibility for their own lives and they call on the community to assist in these actions. Yamashita reflected, “We are truly blessed with great community partners. Our approach goes beyond providing basic shelter and sustenance for homeless persons. Through a series of structured programs and services, we focus on instilling the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to support self-sufficiency and promote positive, healthy life choices.”

With all of the COVID-19 concerns, KHAKO is still in operation, bringing in new families and individuals who are experiencing homelessness as well as working with current clients to assist them with obtaining permanent housing. “While the world may be at a standstill, life carries on at our shelters and we are still working to end the cycle of homelessness,” said Yamashita. “On any given day, the KHAKO staff works to create stability in lives and to ensure success in permanent housing. There is already a lot of pressure for the clients, and COVID-19 is not making things easier, but we will continue to assist those in need.”

I do this work because everyone deserves a dignified and healthy quality of life. Poverty is cruel and no one should be without a home because of it.

Monique Yamashita, Executive Director, KHAKO Homeless Resource Centers, Inc.