Friday, May 16, 2008
Wanted--place to park three big buses overnight for a good cause
Utu Langi has three of his shelter buses ready to roll, but needs a place to park them. Can you help?
His project has caught the interest of advocacy groups, religious and other advocacy organizations, and the media both inside and outside of Hawaii:
Driven to help the homeless
By Robert Shikina
Utu Langi was returning from a trip to feed the homeless when he thought he could do more.
Tomorrow he will unveil his first mobile shelter-bus, a former tour bus that has been gutted and fitted with eight beds, which he plans to drive to areas of need and give the homeless a place to sleep.
"I'm so excited, I cannot wait to run it," he said. "I'm hoping to help a lot of people with this goofy idea." [Star-Bulletin 11/6/2007]
Mobile Homeless Bus Shelters Planned in Hawaii
HONOLULU — A nonprofit group feeding the homeless has new plans for getting people off the streets — tour buses.
The group called H-5, or Hawaii Helping the Hungry Have Hope, is unveiling the first two of a fleet of mobile homeless shelters for Oahu.
Nineteen used buses have been donated to H-5 director Utu Langi by Roberts Hawaii for the project.
Langi is removing the bus seats and having the interior of each 40-foot vehicle retrofitted with eight beds in small partitioned units.
H-5 has been distributing about 6,000 meals a month around Oahu to increasing numbers of homeless.
The group plans to introduced the buses Wednesday, kickoff for the annual Walk the Talk 130-mile trek around the island to raise awareness of homelessness.
One of the buses is to travel with the walkers to introduce the mobile shelter to the homeless. Langi says he hopes to have five buses ready as shelters by mid-2008.[Fox News, 11/8/2007]
On last night's Town Square program, Langi told host Beth-Ann Kozlovich that the original plan was to drive the buses into the parks to provide overnight sleeping accommodations. The project would also increase the accessibility of support services since it would be an important point of contact.
But now the parks are closed at night, meaning the buses can't be there. Will the City make an exception? No, not the kindhearted City and County of Honolulu.
So three buses are ready to roll, but they need overnight parking facilities.
If you know of or can think of any available space and can make a few phone calls to help get the process started, please do that and then let Utu know what you have found at slangi [-at-] campus.hpu.edu or at (808) 522-0397.
I have been wondering about that huge parking lot over at the former CompUSA site. Maybe a few phone calls can turn up the owner. Or maybe a legislator has some ideas. Does anyone know about how to find out who owns a property?
This is a worthwhile project just looking for a nighttime home. Won't you help find one? Remember, these are 40-foot buses.
If you think you know a place, please go the extra mile and call them or otherwise push to break some space loose. Do you know anyone at Costco, Wal-Mart or other store with lots of parking space? What's needed is for you to call them if possible.
I hope something can be found for this wonderful project.
I don't know of any good place.
Assuming these buses are going to have staff/drivers (who will remain awake all night), then parking them anyplace secluded (you know, the kind of places where illegal dumping is common, for example) and moving on if/when they are hassled by a landowner/law enforcement seems to be an option.
Also, having grown up around RVs, he'll need a spot to empty the septic tank if the bus has a restroom. Furthermore, if the buses are air conditioned they'll either need a power hook-up (at some expense) or to be able to run a generator all night (detracting from their stealth).
This is doable, but it won't be easy.
It has been Wal-Mart's "national" policy to allow "rv-ers" to park overnight in their parking lots. (See below).
I have overnighted in their parking lots - mostly on the east coast.
I don't know their policy in Hawai'i, but it's worth checking out.
HI I AM THE PRES. OF WAL-MART BOUND TRAVEL CLUB. IHAVE OVER 900 MEMBERS IN MY CLUB. ITS JUST A FUN GROUP OF MONACO OWNERS WHO LOVE STOPING AT WAL-MARTS OVER NIGHT. I OWN A STEAK HOUSE ON A WALMART LOT FOR OVER 20 YEARS. WE HAVE FROM 5-10 EVERY NIGHT. WALMART LOVES US AN SO DO WE. YES THERE ARE SOME CITYS WHO SAY NO OVERNIGHT IN ANY PARKING LOTS BUT ITS NOT WALMART DOING IT. THEY LOVE OVER NIGHT PARKING. THEY SAY WE SPEND OVER $100 PER STOP. THANKS LARRY HAHN EL PASO TX
Posted by LARRY HAHN on 04/10/04
Thanks very much. I'll alert Utu to these ideas in case he isn't looking here for comments.