They lost their home with 3 toddlers in tow. Here’s how they got back on track.

Bode and Kai Kalua had been living with their three children at Kai’s parents’ house for some time because they couldn’t afford a place of their own.

It’s sadly a common tale in Hawaii because the cost of living is so high.

Waikiki in Honolulu. Photo by Bernard Spragg/ Flickr.

While they paid a portion of the rent and utilities, living under one roof with Kai’s mothers was challenging. Disagreements would often start, but in November 2016, one including with regard to led to a devastating change for the Kaluas.

After a heated debate, Kai’s mother unceremoniously kicked her daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren out of the house.

For the next four months, the Kaluas had no place to call home, so they lived out of their automobile and a rented storage unit.

Bode’s sister let them bathe in her apartment, but her lease didn’t allow for long-term guests so they couldn’t bide.

It was uncomfortable and degrading for the parents, especially when their children would ask them about their situation.

“Having to explain why we did not have a house to our oldest[ child] was one of the hardest things because he was still so young and simply did not understand, ” writes Bode in an email.

“I recollect driving by some homes to simply turn around in person` s driveway, and he would ask me, ‘Daddy is this our new home? ‘ It tore me apart inside.”

There was so much instability the kids had to endure, such as no situate sleep or eating routines. And while their parents tried to keep the children as clean as possible, it was hard to do things like laundry when they didn’t have a home. Even though they weren’t in school yet, it was no doubt unpleasant having to regularly re-wear dirty clothes.

Things ultimately took a turn for the better when they got a call from of the homeless rehabilitation center.

Photo via Family Value Hawaii/ Instagram. Use with permission.

The center that called was Family Promise Hawaii, an organization that, since they opened in 2006, has been able to help secure sustainable housing for 86% of the 494 families they’ve served so far.

The Kaluas had applied for emergency shelter there as soon as they could, and after some time on the waitlist, a space ultimately opened up for them.

From then on, things get infinitely better. They were given a legitimate place to sleep, food, toiletries, counseling, even financial advice to help them get on the path to affording a mansion.

Via Family Promise Hawaii/ Instagram. Used with permission.

For Kai, however, it was the emotional support FPH offered that attained the biggest difference.

“I think a team like a huge group of people saying they believe in you, it makes all the difference, ” writes Kai. “That is what maintains pushing us to do what we can for ourselves and to be thankful for what others do for us.”

It wasn’t long before the Kaluas were walking into the first house they could call their own.

“It was alleviating and merely overall a really overwhelmingly emotional hour, ” writes Bode. “It was our very first place of our own as a family. We could eat at a table as a family, cook our own meals, and sleep in our own beds.”

And their 3-year-old son, Kupa’a was able to only start school in August.

Thanks to a subsidy on their rent from FPH, as well as donations of basic renders and playthings, the Kaluas ultimately feel like they are making progress in achieving the freedom and stability they all were go looking for.

Via Family Promise Hawaii/ Instagram . Use with permission.

While many opinion homelessness as lacking a place to stay, for families like the Kaluas, it is often the little things they receive first — like a bed, doll, and a shower — that often build the biggest change.

Hygiene is often overlooked when discussing supporting people who are homeless, especially for families . But if mothers can find a way to keep their kids and their clothes clean, it helps bolster their confidence.

Two children in the FPH program. Photo via Family Promise Hawaii, used in conjunction with permission.

That’s why Whirlpool is working to expand their Care Counts( tm )~ ATAGEND Laundry Program across the country to help get households access to washers and dryers. By devoting households the ability to clean their clothes for free, they’re improving kids’ lives as well as their parents’ lives. It may not be a house, but it’s one important way they’re giving stability back to households who urgently need some.

Getting to clean themselves and their clothes has no doubt helped the Kaluas feel more in control of “peoples lives”. And it’s all thanks to the dedication of volunteers who believe every family deserves these basic things.

Through the hard times his family has endured, Bode’s learned there’s no dishonor in leaning on others like the volunteers at FPH for help. Sometimes that’s just what you need to do to pulling yourself back up.

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