Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers announced the election of Helen “Kit” Hart as new Board Chair during the nonprofit’s annual board of directors meeting held Tuesday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
Hart succeeds outgoing board Chair Lynn Rasmussen, who will continue service as a board member for the agency dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness on Maui.
“Mahalo to Lynn for all her dedication and hard work as board chair,” Hart said. “I look forward to working with our board and Ka Hale A Ke Ola leadership team to curb homelessness and empower individuals and families with self-sufficiency in safe and stable housing. The board is there to support our dedicated Executive Director and her staff during these challenging times.”
Hart has served as a board member since 2014. “Her leadership will be instrumental in advancing the organization’s mission of providing essential resources and support to Maui residents in need of emergency shelter and transitioning to permanent housing,” according to a news release announcement.
The board’s leadership team includes Wendy Hudson as Vice Chair, Alec McBarnet Jr. as Treasurer and Cathy Bio as Secretary. They will work with a team of board members that includes Amber Barto, Dr. John Decker, Bob Horcajo, J. Moana Kahoʻohanohano, Steve Miller, Alvin Tagomori and James Worley.
In addition to welcoming new members, the board expressed its appreciation for outgoing board members who have played vital roles in the growth of Ka Hale A Ke Ola. The board thanked former Mayor Michael Victorino, the Rev. Gary Colton, Rory Frampton, Doug Wright and Nicole Spalding for their outstanding service and contributions to Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers.
Mayor Richard Bissen commended board members for their commitment to public service and the agency’s mission of curbing homelessness. He said government partnerships with nonprofit agencies are important in delivering much-needed services to island residents. “Government can’t do it alone,” he said.
KHAKO Executive Director Monique R. Ibarra reported the agency’s accomplishments in 2022.
“Ka Hale A Ke Ola has forged strategic partnerships and collaborations with various stakeholders, including government agencies, local businesses and other nonprofit organizations,” Ibarra said. “These partnerships have been vital in leveraging resources, sharing expertise and fostering a holistic approach to addressing homelessness on Maui.”
Last year, Ka Hale A Ke Ola served 327 families in shelter, including 260 children. The agency served 37,649 meals. Eighty-seven local households completed the journey from homelessness into permanent housing. Twenty-two veterans were served, and KHAKO took in 6,501 calls and walk-ins for service assistance. The agency’s Hale Hoʻola Medical Respite Shelter housed 22 clients in 2022.
As part of the agency’s commitment to prevent homelessness, its rental assistance program provided $492,275 to 94 families and individuals in 2022.
“I am very thankful for the staff at Ka Hale A Ke Ola,” Ibarra said in the announcement. “I am proud of them and grateful that they work so hard with compassion and purpose to help those in need of housing. The future continues to be bright for Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers as we move forward with new and exciting ventures to expand housing in our community.”