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West Hawaii Today News

More than a number 

Edition: January 9th, 2023

Big Island Point-In-Time Count Returns Jan. 23 to 27 Volunteers needed for annual tally of homeless 

Regina Weller, a one woman Homeless advocate with 808 Homeless Task Force has provided transportation back to the mainland, vehicles, and job placement for homeless in Kona. She doubts the validity of the numbers that are reported. She said PIT is necessary however not a "cattle count."

"These are real people whether one sympathizes or not with their plight. The yearly count could be used more effectively and efficiently, like to motivate them, where possible, back to the mainstream" she said. "What would you consider right now in this time of your life, I ask them. Are you in misery? Do you want a roof over your head, to see your family again, to get a job, or just to eat a meal every day? Do you want rehab?"

Based on her encounters, she tries to provide services for those that want them.

She asks the homeless she encounters to talk to her.

"It's just you and me. From what I visually see during outreach, I think the PIT count is higher," she said, noting that she has not participated in the count.

"They are coming in through the airport every day, but find out right away that homeless in Hawaii is not paradise," she said.

Going Home

Edition: October 9th, 2022

Advocate, police help reunite homeless man with family

"Our organization has formulated a 'Rapid Aloha' network of willing resources who engage quickly to meet the need," said Weller. "The plan was on and we tried to move him swiftly before he got lost in the shuffle of the Ironman parade and events. Rex told me 'I know my house is no longer there, but I've had a long time to think, and my heart is still there and it's where I have strong ties. I want to go home.'"

A Different Approach

Edition: November 17th, 2020

Nonprofit working to address homeless crisis in Kona

"I learn their story and try to change their perspective about themselves and let them know that they are important. My goal is to bring them back into the mainstream and provide them with a path where they have a vision for themselves."

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