Hawai'i State News

Neighborhood Place of Puna awarded $2.5 million to help East Hawai‘i families

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Neighborhood Place of Puna, a family-focused nonprofit, has received a $2.5 million grant from Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Day 1 Families Fund — the largest private gift in the organization’s history.

This is the sixth round of annual Day 1 Families Fund grants, which recognize leading organizations doing work to help families experiencing homelessness secure housing and achieve stability.

“Thanks to this grant, Neighborhood Place of Puna will be able to do more to help our community move closer to the goal of ending family and child homelessness in Hawai‘i County,” said Paul Normann, executive director of Neighborhood Place of Puna.

This one-time, uniquely flexible grant will support Neighborhood Place of Puna in serving as a critical lifeline to children and adults in families experiencing homelessness, who represent more than a quarter of the homeless population nationally.


Neighborhood Place of Puna plans to use its Day 1 Families Fund grant to reduce the number of families and children experiencing homelessness in Hawai‘i County.

Neighborhood Place of Puna was selected as a Day 1 Families Fund grant recipient by a group of national advisors who are leading advocates and experts on homelessness and service provision. National advisors brought expertise on housing justice, advancing racial equity and helping programs employ resources effectively to assist families out of homelessness.

Over the past six years, the Day 1 Families Fund has provided 208 grants totaling more than $630 million to organizations around the country working on the frontlines to identify unsheltered families, help families regain housing and connect families experiencing homelessness to vital services.


A selection of more than half of the Day 1 Families Fund grantees who received funding between 2018 through 2021 report that, to date, they have used their grants to divert more than 28,000 families from experiencing homelessness, connect more than 30,000 unsheltered families with safe shelter and help more than 75,000 families access the services they need.

This year, the Fund issued a total of $117.55 million in grants to 38 organizations. The Day 1 Families Fund has now granted this award to organizations in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

New states this year include Arkansas, Vermont and Wyoming. The other organization receiving a grant in Hawai’i is Ka Mana O Na Helu.


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