Homeless children must not be forgotten
When people think of the homeless situation on the Wai'anae Coast, the children affected are often overlooked.
So it's a relief to see the first wave of homeless families move in to the new Onelau'ena shelter in Kalaeloa two months ahead of schedule. No child should have to worry about such basics as food and shelter.
But the work is far from done. There are still many more families living on the beaches on Wai'anae Coast, with children who struggle to attend public schools.
Government solutions are progressing, but it takes time to completely solve the sweeping problem of homelessness.
In the meantime, it's important to continue to find ways to support school-aged children dealing with homelessness.
As reported in The Advertiser's recent series, hundreds of the homeless living on the Wai'anae Coast are school-aged children. Kamaile Elementary has the largest numbers. Of a student body of 650, officials at the school estimate that as many as 60 percent of its students are homeless.
The Department of Education has a special office to deal with the educational needs of homeless students statewide. But it relies on just $250,000 in federal dollars that provides part-time teachers to help students with homework at shelters and bus passes to aid with transportation needs.
Still, with no money funnelled directly to schools, campuses are feeling the pressure to find funds to provide extra help for these students.
Readers were touched by that and other stories that showed how the teachers at Kamaile have gone above and beyond their daily jobs to help, such as setting up a washer and dryer at school so that any student with soiled clothing could get them cleaned before attending class.
So far, readers have sent donations in the form of food, clothing and toiletries from as far away as Tokyo and North Carolina.
Until there's a permanent roof over the heads of these homeless children, community support, in partnership with public schools, must continue. These children depend on it.