A GoFundMe page has been established to help pay for repairs to the mobile RV at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine after it was vandalized over the Labor Day weekend. Tail lights were damaged and graffiti covered a big portion of the Hawaiʻi H.O.M.E. Project van, which is used to provide free medical services to Oʻahu’s houseless population.
The Hawaiʻi H.O.M.E. Project, which stands for Houseless Outreach & Medical Education, is also an integral part of the medical curriculum at JABSOM. Services are provided during weekly student-run clinics at nine sites across Oʻahu. In addition to these clinics, the mobile health van is used for outreach to other unsheltered houseless populations and provides special events for keiki at the shelters. It also played a role in providing free, rapid result COVID-19 testing to underserved communities.
“Our mobile van is critical for the functioning of our clinic and we can’t provide our usual services without it. All of our operational costs are usually paid for via grants and grassroots fundraising, so unexpected expenses like these are extremely hard on us,” said Jill Omori, associate professor and executive director of the H.O.M.E. Project. “To find the RV once again vandalized is devastating for our medical students because volunteering on van missions is one of JABSOM’s requirements in the medical doctor program.”
Anyone with information about the vandalism is encouraged to contact the Honolulu Police Department.