Windward homeless clinic gets big donation

Mar. 20, 2020

KANEOHE, Hawaii - As the city continues to grapple with a growing homeless population, advocates received a financial boost this week to help provide Oahu’s homeless with much-needed medical supplies to tend to their health care needs.

The parent company of CVS/Longs Drugs presented a check for $25,000 to Aloha United Way – funding that will support the efforts of the Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hui, more commonly known as H4.

Following the presentation, CVS Health Senior Vice President Barbara Cleppe toured the H4 medical clinic at the Kaneohe Joint Outreach Center, along with representatives from AUW, H4 and HMSA. That’s where the group met with medical staff, thanking them for their vital work.

“What I find very heartening is the passion that everyone has for what they’re trying to with the mission here,” said Cleppe. "It’s humbling for me to see all the dedication to not only helping the social aspect of it, but also amazed to see the clinical piece of it, to take care of the homeless.”

HMSA is a charter corporate sponsor of the H4 program. “HMSA is expanding its perception of really what the health issues are in the community. Homelessness and a lot of the social determinants of health really truly impact our health system,” said HMSA Senior Vice President Katy Akimoto. ”They crowd our ERs. We hoping these clinics can really give people what they need, from a social service need to a medical need, we’re just here to help and it will help everybody in the community.

“One thing that we really learned is nonprofits can’t fix it. Government certainly can’t fix it.  It’s going to take the whole community and that means getting the business community involved with this thing and them recognizing that there are organizations like H4 that they can reach out to. They can make a real difference in how we approach the problem. We all have to be in it together. That’s the bottom line. If we’re not in it together, it will fail,” added Aloha United Way interim President and CEO Norm Baker.

The H4 program provides non-emergency medical services for homeless individuals, such as medication refills, vaccinations, and treatment for minor injuries.