Go to homepage

Lydia House

Liliʻuokalani Trust and Hale Kipa Launch Lydia House

Liliʻuokalani Trust and Hale Kipa Launch Lydia House

A Transitional Housing Program for 42 Native Hawaiian Youth Affected by COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Media Contact: Kimo Carvalho | Phone: 808-466-8022

HONOLULU – Liliʻuokalani Trust has partnered with Hale Kipa to launch Lydia House, a transitional housing program for youth in crisis and without support systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Named in honor of Queen Liliʻuokalani, and after the name given to her on her birth 182 years ago today, Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamakaʻeha, Lydia House recently opened 18 one- and two-bedroom residential units to 42 young adults and children affected by Covid19 this year, 2020. All of its beneficiaries are of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

Lydia House is a result of a shift in Liliʻuokalani Trust’s strategic focus, which began in 2015 when its trustees set an ambitious mission to break the cycle of poverty for Hawaii’s youth and families over-represented in State systems, including foster care, juvenile justice and homelessness. Earlier this year, Liliʻuokalani extended services from 17 to age 26, for the first time in its 111-year history. 

In 2018, Native Hawaiian children made up 46% of all youth in foster care, consistent with historical data which show that over the 10-year span from 2009 through 2018, Native Hawaiian children accounted for 44% of all foster care youth. This is in sharp contrast with the fact that Native Hawaiian children make up about 31% of all children ages 0-17 in Hawaii. 

In addition, a disproportionate number of the homeless are Native Hawaiian. The 2020 point-in-time counts report that 51% of the homeless in Hawaii are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, despite making up only 27% of the population. 

“We expect trends to increase with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and the economic downturn,” said Dawn Harflinger, Liliʻuokalani Trust Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

“As a perpetual Trust operating during the global pandemic, we continue to focus assets on serving our most vulnerable and destitute Hawaiian children, as mandated by Queen Liliʻuokalani, while being fiscally prudent to ensure we continue to serve our people for decades to come,” Harflinger stated.  

Liliʻuokalani Trust purchased Lydia’s House, located at 205 South Vineyard Street, in 2018. The facility includes 5,000 square feet of commercial space and 18 residential units. Its programs were developed by more than three dozen community stakeholders from private, nonprofit and government organizations.

Next year, Lydia House will expand to include a status arrest diversion program, engagement center, and temporary shelter for minors 14-17 years old. Lydia’s House will also include cultural-based programs intended to address root causes of inter-generational poverty and trauma for young adults 18-26 years old who are aging out of systems. Liliʻuokalani Trust, Hale Kipa and its community partners aim to collectively demonstrate a holistic approach to breaking the cycle of poverty, ensuring Native Hawaiian youth become thriving adults.

“When youth lack the family, community and developmental supports needed as minors, they become higher at risk for repeat homelessness, unemployment, chronic health conditions and continued generational poverty,” said Hale Kipa’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Jaque Kelley-Uyeoka. “Investing in these youth now will give them a better shot at a future outside of poverty and avoiding the homeless crisis we see today.”

Lydia House Executive Director Kimo Carvalho validates the need to intervene early, noting that adults who become homeless often have a prior history of foster care or were engaged in institutions as minors.

“Nearly all of Lydia House tenants aged out of systems, were highly vulnerable and living without the supports or skills to thrive independently,” he said. “COVID-19 pushed them into a crisis. Liliʻuokalani Trust and Hale Kipa are providing needed stabilization and are preparing these resilient beneficiaries for new, sustainable futures.”

Lydia House currently includes six couples, six single young adults, three single moms and five families with children. Beneficiaries have experienced a range of sentinel life events, including loss of infants, gang and domestic violence, fraud, homelessness and mental health crises. Tenants pay a nominal program fee to reside at Lydia House that includes amenities and on-site services. Hale Kipa and Liliʻuokalani Trust staff provide a range of cultural and traditional programs, including life skills, financial literacy, parenting, couples therapy, counseling and case management services. Twelve tenants are children who would otherwise not have had access to technology for the academic year due to COVID-19.

Lydia’s House officially opened its doors on June 1, 2020. Each unit was sponsored and furnished by thirteen community donors.

About Liliʻuokalani Trust: The Liliʻuokalani Trust (LT) is a private Hawaii charitable trust and private operating foundation founded in 1909 by Queen Liliʻuokalani, for the benefit of orphan and destitute children with preference given to Native Hawaiian children in perpetuity. LT serves approximately 10,000 children annually through direct and indirect services and reaches thousands more through collaborations with community partners. With Hawaiian cultural values and practices as a foundation, LT offers an array of programs and services to help kamaliʻi (beneficiary children) reach their full potential in life. For more, visit www.onipaa.org.

About Hale Kipa: Hale Kipa, or “House of Friendliness,” is a multi-service, fully accredited 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that specializes in working with at-risk youth and their families who often have nowhere else to turn. Hale Kipa has served more than 60,000 youth throughout Hawaii since its beginning in 1970 as a single shelter on Oahu. This includes working in partnership with public agencies and private organizations to provide residential, outreach, and foster care services at no cost. With programs that are flexible and responsive to changing needs, Hale Kipa supports youth involved in juvenile justice, behavioral health, education and child welfare. Program goals include stabilizing young people in crisis and helping youth and families build resiliency to experience success in their lives. For more, visit www.halekipa.org.