The Oʻahu Lived Experience Council is a group of individuals who are currently or have recently been houseless (aka homeless) on O'ahu. They are committed to sharing their stories, knowledge, and experiences with others in hopes of shaping better solutions to homelessness.
Read a joint statement created in the Summer of 2022, by houseless from residents across Oʻahu.
Phillis “Kehau” Atuailevao
Phillis “Kehau” Atuailevao was born in Honolulu, and raised in Waipahu. She has been on the streets of Kalihi since the year 2003. For the past three years she had an apartment in Waikiki. Once Covid-19 hit, Kehau had lost her apartment and once again found herself houseless, this time in the Sand Island beach area. “Being houseless is more challenging now than I remember it! Helping to make people aware of what it is like to be houseless is where my journey begins! Please take a walk in my shoes to see what a day in the life of a houseless person is like! Then please feel free to share and be a part of helping to conquer houselessness in Hawai’i! Mahalo.”
Lavina Aina has lived in Waimanalo all her life and raised her children there. She was housed until about 7 years ago, when a series of circumstances led to her living in the beach parks. At first she kept to herself, but soon she noticed that there were others in the parks who were suffering and needed help. Although she had little to share, she got to know them and helped as she could, including building community among people living on “The Line” (a row of tents on the edge of Kalanianaole Highway, just outside of Waimanalo Beach Park). Today Aunty Vaina lives in Kupuna housing—walking distance from “The Line.” Rain or shine, she does her best to be with her people there every day. “Our people need our help. They need health services, a safe place to stay, good food to eat. We can all do our part.”
Pauleileia “Pia” Bear
Pia was evicted from her home and eventually ended up living with a friend at Pu’uhonua O Waiʻanae. She now has her own place in the village: “It’s comfortable—it’s home. Got your own space, and you abide by the contract you sign. Get to know your neighborhood, like in any neighborhood. We just don’t have a wooden structure to live in. There is a sense of taking care of yourself and taking care of our community here: We all pitch in. Some days we cannot pitch in, but we going catch’ em the next day. Everybody is family. If you look at your neighbor as family, we can somehow get through our struggles. I’m sharing my story because I want to share that houseless people are just the same as people with a higher income than us.Others have more material things, and we make due with what we got. I hope my story might help someone. It comes from the heart.”
Twinkle Borge is the leader of Puʻuhonua O Waiʻanae, a village of 250 people living unhoused on State land adjacent to the Waiʻanae Boat Harbor. She has organized her village into a powerful asset for the wider community that offers safety, healing, and purpose to people who've lost their housing. POW residents serve Waiʻanae in a variety of ways, including conducting regular cleanups all across the Waiʻanae Coast, feeding and clothing residents of other houseless encampments, and distributing back to school supplies each year to both houseless and housed families in need. In 2018, Twinkle and others led an effort to defend the village from the threat of State eviction, then spent the next year and a half raising funds to purchase land that the village could relocate to. She and her village are now working to construct a pioneering model of village-style affordable housing. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of Hui Aloha.
Laura Mae Duclayan
Laura Mae was raised in Kalihi, Oʻahu. She has been living in the Sand Island Beach area for the last two years. “I remember, long time ago when I was growing up, at one point it was okay to be staying here on the beach side of Sand Island, right here where we all are right now. In fact my uncle guys used to live here for a time being and back then it was okay. It was okay to camp here,” she recalls. Today, although Laura Mae currently resides in a place that is under the constant threat of a “sweep” she maintains her sense of dignity and pride through working with others who live alongside her to ensure that the place they all call home is cleaned and kept as safe as possible. They work to look out for each other as well as the surrounding businesses and canoe clubs that use the beach alongside them. She is a great leader and a wonderful example of someone who displays great compassion, and who always strives for equal and fair treatment of houseless folks.
Clayton Lloyd Hanalei Hee
Clayton was born and raised in Kāneohe and now lives along Kalanianaole Highway next to Waimānalo Beach Park. He was incarcerated more than 12 years ago, and has been houseless, off and on, ever since. He has lived at Magic Island, Ala Wai Park, and other areas, and now calls Waimānalo home. For a time, Clayton was employed and housed by the Windward Baptist Church. He took on various roles there including usher, supervisor of the church’s recovery program, and leading morning devotions from the pulpit. He was working toward being ordained, when he had to move back home to take care of his ailing father. Of his experience on the street, Clayton says, “If you are new to being homeless, you will meet all kind of characters, some struggling with addiction, some trustworthy, some not. If anybody out there who needs help, and what I’ve been through can help them, I am willing to share.”
Randalynn Luafalemana-Kalauli (Lynn)
Aloha, my name is Randalynn Luafalemana-Kalauli. People know me as Lynn. I’m a resident of Pu'uhonua O Waiʻanae (POW), along with my two youngest children. I’ve been living there since December of 2013. The year 2013 was the first time in my life when I have been homeless. I’ve been at POW for going on 9 years, and I work with Twinkle. I help her with whatever she needs help with. If you haven’t been houseless yourself, you wouldn’t know how we actually live and survive. Everyone in the village helps each other. We get criticized by people who just assume that all houseless people are chronics or thieves. I am one of many who don’t do any type of drug and don’t steal. It would be awesome if you could come and talk with us, come visit our village—even stay with us, so you would have that personal experience of knowing us and our community.
Aloha my name is Louisa Keawe. Starting in the late 80's, I was a single mother with four sons and pregnant at 6 months with my fifth child. The separation in my marriage made me realize that I needed to steer my life and my children's lives with God’s help. As time passed, I managed to find help at a women's abuse shelter. This support allowed me to find an apartment for myself and my six children. Then the table turned when the landlord raised the rent, and I had to move on. When this happened, I found refuge living in Sand Island, Waiʻanae, and Waimānalo at campsites where I stayed with a permit. Time passed and now my children are older and doing well on their own. As for me, I'm presently living houseless at Waimānalo Beach Park on Kalaniʻanaole Highway in a tent, hoping for a permanent solution. I believe there are solutions to houselessness in Hawaiʻi. We can find a way together.
Lila “Queenie” Marcellino
Queenie was born and raised on the West Side of Oʻahu, and grew up in Waiʻanae. She spent her formative years in the village of Puʻuhonua O Wai'anae. Today, she is one of the village’s young leaders, responsible for running the village food pantry, and for helping to lead her section of 25 residents. She is also a member of POW’s outreach team, which makes weekly visits to houseless encampments along the Waiʻanae Coast to share food, clothing, hygiene supplies and hope with others experiencing houselessness. Her photography has been exhibited at the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Arts at Mark’s Garage.
Lindsay Ann Pacheco
Lindsay Ann Pacheco is originally from McCully on the island of Oʻahu, and now resides in Kakaʻako. Prior to being housed, Lindsay spent 8 years houseless, much of it in Kakaʻako Park areas. During this time, Lindsay and a small group of friends worked to organize Ka Poʻe O Kakaʻako: The People Of Kakaʻako (KPOK). They encouraged folks in their encampment to participate in weekly community service projects to help clean the park and the streets where surrounding businesses were located. Lindsay and her fellow KPOK leaders also began attending Neighborhood Board meetings on a regular basis to help address the concerns about their encampment that were coming from the wider community. In doing so KPOK gained the friendship and support of many housed allies. Lindsay got housed in May of 2020, re-enrolled into college in pursuit of a degree in Social Work, and has become a strong advocate for those who continue to remain houseless. “Where thereʻs a will, there is a way.” Lindsay says, “I strongly believe that TOGETHER, we can find solutions to our own problems of being houseless, and TOGETHER we can end houselessness here in Hawaii.”
Kaulana "Kala" Paishon
Aloha my name is Kaulana (aka KaLa) Paishon. I am a resident at Pu'uhonua O' Wai'anae which is one of the biggest homeless encampment in Hawaii! I am one of the five overseers that lives in the village. We all have different obligation in the village. There is about 250 people living here and we make it work by building family from our mixed diversity! I believe houselessness is like a labyrinth, and temporary band aids will not solve it. We have to be creative and persistent in our approaches, even if our progress is not as quick as we want it to be.
Aura Reyes is a co-founder of Ka Poʻe O Kakaʻako (KPOK) a houseless community formed in Kaka ‘ako, with the support of Hui Aloha, in 2018. While living in this community, Aura played a major role in connecting houseless individuals to services, directly, by organizing a service fair event that provided services based on the requests and needs of those whom they were serving. Although currently housed, she continues to provide services to those who are still houseless and speaks out on behalf of those who remain unhoused. She currently sits on the board of directors of Partners in Care Oʻahu and is an Affordable Hawaiʻi for All Fellow. She strives daily to connect those who remain unhoused to community and continues working towards finding better solutions for all of those who struggle with housing instability.
Jennifer Sadural was born and raised in Grainger, IN. After time in the military and in Florida, she came to Hawaiʻi. She fell in love with the islands, and chose to stay, but due to a series of challenging events she eventually found herself houseless on the streets of Kakaʻako. She currently resides at Sand Island beach. She is a member of Ka Poʻe O Kakaʻako, a community of houseless individuals who once resided in the Kakaʻako Park area before finally getting swept out in late 2019. She is an intelligent woman who loves to help the next person and always expresses great empathy for others. Although she continues to face the daily struggles of being houseless on Oʻahu, she manages to remain positive and hopeful as she works to advocate for her fellow houseless community members.