Hilo, Hawaii, Aug. 12, 2011 – HOPE Services Hawaii has received a grant in the amount of $78,689.00 as a gift from the Community Stabilization Initiative Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation. Monies have been awarded to fund the Supplemental Nutrition Program Outreach (SNAP) and will help to subsidize the cost of two staff and operational expenses. The grant is to help families and individuals with the lengthy and intensive application process in their community. SNAP Outreach staff are mobile and meet with prospective applicants in their community: at home, at the park, at churches, at HOPE Services Hawaii locations, at senior centers, low income housing projects and at community food pantry sites.
“The SNAP program is not restricted to persons experiencing homelessness. So many Hawaii residents risk hunger and homelessness because of current economic conditions…this grant will help us provide support in a timely and effective way.” says Brandee Menino, Chief Executive Officer at HOPE Services Hawaii. “Our referrals are most often to help those who find the (SNAP) application process overwhelming or embarrassing and who may have multiple barriers inhibiting their ability to complete the application. These barriers include their comprehension and understanding of what’s required in order to apply for benefits due to mental health disability or language barriers. Mobility is another barrier in our rural communities for those who do not have transportation, or have physical disabilities. With the help of the Community Stabilization Initiative Fund, our Outreach Specialists can continue to be mobile and out in the communities meeting people where they are in an effort to reduce these barriers and eliminate hunger.”
HOPE is a statewide non-profit agency that initiates and provides innovative safety net programs to the vulnerable and marginalized in the state of Hawai’i. These programs include homeless outreach, mental health outreach, drop-in centers, emergency and transitional housing programs, permanent supportive housing programs, representative payee services and SNAP (formerly food stamps) outreach. In 2010, HOPE served nearly 3,500 individuals. These outcomes are attributed to the dedication of HOPE staff and volunteers and their belief in the mission to “bring to life gospel values of justice, love, compassion and hope through service, empowerment and advocacy.”