Born and raised in Nanakuli, Jontei and Robert faced many ups and downs. They had jobs and raised their children, but somewhere in between, challenges arose and substance abuse crept in. This eventually led them to a tent on the beach and their children being removed by Child Protective Services.
During their efforts to cope with their addictions and getting their lives back on track, a partner agency referred them to Catholic Charities Hawaii’s Mā‘ili Land Transitional Housing Program; which provides short- term housing and assistance to help families become self-sufficient and obtain affordable permanent housing.
With a lot of hard work and determination, their lives were transformed with the caring support and guidance of CCH’s program staff. Jontei and Robert focused on getting healthy and sober and were then able to get their children back. At the same time, Māili Land staff worked tirelessly to get them ready with the tools to obtain permanent housing.
“We help people at their lowest point and walk with them with an open heart,” Mā‘ili Land case manager Ruth Tunei shares, “…life can change if you really want it.”
Today, the family is living in their own home and the kids are thriving. Jontei is employed and was promoted to a management position. They are deeply thankful for the patient support and guidance of Mā‘ili Land staff.
This is just one of many stories about the lives that Catholic Charities Hawai‘i has transformed with compassion, dignity, social justice and a commitment to excellence.
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