"It's not a shelter, it's a village"
Serving home to 219 people including 21 children, Pu’uhonua O Wai’anae is the largest and by far the oldest homeless camp on the island of O’ahu. The place is not considered a camp for the ‘homeless,’ rather a place for the ‘house-less.’
On the suburb of the Wai’anae Boat Harbor is the home to several kinds including children working families and elders. This village is based on shared love and bond that exists among the resident as well as known for its strict discipline and rules honored by the members. The community consists of eight sections and each section has its own captain.
"Growing up was always at the beach. Always camping. I wake up and I don't have to answer to anybody, go out when I want to."
Homelessness is always an ongoing crucial issue Hawai’i. According to the City and County of Honolulu 2019 Homeless Point in the Time Count Results, the total number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people for 2019 is 4,453, which is a decline of 1% (42 people) over 2018 (total=4,495).
Even if there are other officially registered shelters and intermediate homes in Waiʻanae but those who reside at Puʻuhonua o Wai‘anae are influenced by community culture. There, the focus is on kindness and correlation, empathy over sympathy. According to village leader Twinkle Borge, “Love one another, help each other” is the philosophy she follows and implements to structure the refuge.
As of 2019, the entire village is planning to relocate to their own bought private land in Wai’anae Valley to build permanent housing with their existing resident.