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by Kristine Ternate, student writer

 

Darlene Hein is the full-time director of the Waikiki Health Center’s Care-A-Van program at 1640 South King Street.

“Darlene has proven to be a caring and outspoken person,” said James Gonser, a Honolulu Advertiser reporter who has written extensively about homeless issues. “She keeps track of where people are living and what their conditions are, so they can be helped.”

“If we had more people like Darlene, the homeless would be better off today,” Gonser added.
Hein has a master’s degree in public health, planning and administration, and has lived on O‘ahu for more than 15 years.

The clinic, which has a staff of 10 outreach workers, a medical director, and four nurse practitioners, sees approximately 80-100 people a day, and it provides all services free of cost.

“ These people don’t want to seem homeless,” said Hein.

Many of them work full time, she explained, but can’t afford O‘ahu’s high rents. “We just want to help people manage their lives,” Hein said.

“ The Care-A-Van program is one that helps people who are just trying to make it,” said Hein. It offers a variety of services six days a week to homeless people. The facility offers services such as mailboxes, supplies, phones, restrooms, social services, mental health services, and medical care.

“ We give people a cold drink, a snack, and a phone to use,” said Jocelyn Hostetler, AMHD outreach worker at the Center.

The Care-A-Van outreach program helps the homeless people who are not able to come into the facility. The vans go to areas all over the island to provide care, offering hygienic supplies, food, social services, and medical care to people at O‘ahu’s beach parks, under its bridges and in its streets.

“ Two vans go out every day,” said Hein. “They help people with the most basic necessities in life and help people get state IDs and sign up for free medical insurance.

“ Most people treated by the van suffer from hypertension, diabetes, skin and respiratory infections,” Hein added.

HPU students can help by donating clothing, hygienic products, or their time.

“ We just want to improve the world that we all live in together,” said Hein.

 
 

 

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