"It really bugs me when I see children, women, men, who feel they are not of value," Brandee Menino, CEO of HOPE Services told RCHB members.  "We are here to inspire hope in our community—refeshe, reboot and move forward."
HOPE Services is the main organization on Hawaii Island trying to impact homelessness.  She says one of its jobs is to build a bridge between non profit and business sectors. Menino works with a staff of 50 and 170 volunteers, handling 10 facilities, including two homeless shelters.  HOPE also manages six transitional units for the County of Hawaii.
"What we really need are leaders who have the political will" to deal with affordable housing, Menino said.  Hawaii is 160 percent above the national average cost of living, but average income is low.  "Without housing, we'll have poor health" and other issues, she said.  "It is cheaper to move them into housing than it is to deal with homelessness."
She reminded us that 26 percent of the homeless are children. 
Menino grew up in Hilo, got her bachelor's degree at UHH, and earned a masters in professional counseling psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology.  She sits on the board of Bay Clinic Inc. and The Foodbasket, Inc. 
For more information about HOPE Services, visit its website here.