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Sound the Alarm

A community crisis looms on the horizon.

July 5, 2012
Lisa Darcy · Executive Director, Ho‘omoana Foundation - Executive Director, Ho‘omoana Foundation , The Maui Weekly

Right in the middle of flossing. Seriously. My mind began to string together words that are demanding attention, and I must go turn my computer on. I never know when this demand will surface, but when it does, I heed.

How much of life is circumstance? How much of life is good choices? How much of life is luck? How much of life is hard work? I evaluate circumstances with these questions each time I meet someone--and always when I am at the Ho'omoana Foundation office.

The foundation is a private operating foundation dedicated to assisting people who have become homeless to regain their confidence and ability to live and participate in their community.

When I review an application at the foundation, I ask myself how much control the individual had over his or her circumstances and how much moral tenacity does he or she have? How much ownership do they possess of their situation? How much is society obligated to help those less fortunate?

Life is becoming more and more difficult/complicated for even those who possess good decision-making skills and act responsibly. I am hearing more stories in which individuals and families are doing what's right and still ending up short, and I am starting to feel like there is a potential community crisis on the horizon.

Each month, the siren goes off to ensure we will have a warning in place if a natural disaster is imminent. Technology was developed to provide us with this system.

Logically, I ask myself, who and what sounds the alarm when we are in an economic community crisis? What is in place to recognize this situation, and what is in place to respond? What happens when there is a significant imbalance?

The communication bridge needs to be widened between those who need help and how we respond as a community. I am not compelled to write about complaints, rather to acknowledge I am witnessing more individuals in need who are doing everything right and still unable to meet their basic needs or their family's basic needs. I see mental health and economic needs increasing as a result of so many agencies that have had to make substantial cutbacks, and I think we need to get way outside all of our boxes and create employment and housing solutions that assist our neighbors and friends and family right now. There are wonderful, hard-working programs and agencies that have risen to try to meet the needs but the needs are growing quickly.

Anyone of us can have significant life interruptions or be unlucky, causing our lives to be less than attractive.

Here's a thought that I wrote down to help me to stay the course: If you suspend your judgment, you can see the beauty. This has always been faithful to me and is a necessary part of the process of helping anyone less fortunate.

I never complain about flossing. As long as I have floss, I am within a socioeconomic bracket well ahead of most of the world. This is not something I take for granted; nor the fact that I have a warm, safe place to sleep tonight.



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