Drop In Center At Risk
UPDATE: According to Department of Health (DOH) officials, Hana Ka Lima clubhouse will not be closed in the near future. Janice Okubo of the DOH said Joe Childs’s term does not end until June 27, but they are aware of the issue and backup from Maui would be sent if needed.
Known as the “drop in center,” Hana Ka Lima Clubhouse is a refuge for 75 on-island recovering addicts and mental health patients. The green house on Manako Lane in Kaunakakai has a garden, kitchen, TV and computer, board games, and always someone around to talk story. But on May 26, it may be closed indefinitely.
Joe Childs, case manager for Hana Ka Lima, with his assistant and wife Althea, could be laid off due to a state-wide hiring freeze set by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The Childs work on an 89-day contract basis, and their current terms end on May 26. Because of the freeze, the Department of Health (DOH), which funds and oversees the drop in center, may not be able to hire them back.
“I spent a year on this island homeless,” said clubhouse member Dane Cedarholm. “If it wasn’t for Joe and Althea to get the irons in the fire and get Maui County involved, I’d still be living a cave over at Papahaku [beach].”
Due to budget shortfalls, the freeze took effect on May 3. It should end when the next fiscal year begins on June 30, according to Loretta Fuddy, director of the Hawaii DOH. However, a month without the clubhouse is too long for those who frequent it.
“… We need the drop in center,” said Moses Luczon, a local home care provider who offers housing to three users of the clubhouse. “We need Joe and Althea. If you walk around town, you’ll see a lot of people who need they’re help.”
The DOH has asked Abercrombie for an exemption for Hana Ka Lima. Fuddy said they hope to finalize an exemption before the 26th. As this paper went to press, the DOH was still waiting for an answer.
The Childs have been working at the center for seven years to help people with drug addictions, homelessness, and mental illness, to lead them onto a different path in life.
The drop in center is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.