Hilo homeless shelter to open this summer

Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

The Salvation Army Hawaiʻi will open a homeless shelter in downtown Hilo in August after making an agreement with the Office of Housing and Community Development, Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth, and Governor Josh Green.

Captain Sam LeMar, Hawaiʻi County Coordinator for the Hilo Homeless Shelter, left, stands with Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth, after making the agreement. (Courtesy of the Salvation Army)

“To meet an urgent need, the shelter came together as a shared vision between county and state leaders, and the Salvation Army Hawaiʻi,” said a recent statement from the Salvation Army Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division 

The Hilo shelter is scheduled to open late-August, next to The Salvation Army Hilo Temple Corps, at 219 Ponahawai St., for 12 overnight hours a day on a first-come, first-served basis.

Funding for the shelter was provided by both the state and county.


“The Salvation Army Hawaiʻi has proven to be a trusted source of food, shelter, and care for those experiencing homelessness across our island,” said Mayor Mitch Roth in the statement. “Through this partnership, we aim to bolster our services in Downtown Hilo by providing much-needed overnight respite where houseless individuals can access safe and reliable care.” 

The Hilo homeless shelter is planned to begin with 25 beds, providing overnight stays, meals, and portable toilets.

The new Salvation Army Malama ‘Ohana Kitchen Mobile Trailer will be providing the meals.


“Our intention is to open up our space to collaborators, partnerships, and service providers to help us provide long-term housing and care solutions,” said Captain Sam LeMar, Hawaii County Coordinator for the Hilo Homeless Shelter, in a statement. “We want to make sure we are doing the best we can to serve the needs of our community,” he added.

Leaders and organizations look to address homelessness across Hawaiʻi and hope the Hilo shelter will meet a critical need to serve the houseless community.

Staffing on site will include case workers, shelter attendants, and administrative staff to provide wrap-around care.


“This will be the first human touch, so they can network with service providers to meet their needs, like medicine, mental health, housing, and employment,” said LeMar. “For the Salvation Army, we say, ‘Soup, Soap, and Salvation’. We focus on meeting the physical and emotional needs – people are more than welcome to get soup and soap, and if they want to, they canalso  participate in the many community services we have that provide help and hope.”

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments