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Tents and fences
Oʻahu’s largest homeless encampment, Puʻuhonua o Waiʻanae on the leeward coast

Homeless activists on Oʻahu are taking charge of the growing issue in the islands and tackling problems on their own terms. The University of Hawaiʻi’s Better Tomorrow Speaker Series seeks to amplify some of those voices and spotlight initiatives from Waiʻanae to Waimānalo.

The livestream conversation, Finding Home, Building Community, will be held on Friday, September 17 at 3 p.m. The forum will explore how a new generation of grassroots leaders are paving a path for finding homes and building community. The livestream event is open to the public. (Submit questions and register online.)

“If we build the right relationships, houseless people can be part of the solution, instead of people seeing us only as a problem,” said Twinkle Borges, an activist with Puʻuhonua O Waiʻanae, a village that has come together on state land on the shoreline near the Waiʻanae Boat Harbor.

Borges will be featured on the forum, alongside Jessy Freddy Francis (We Are Oceania); Tina Grandinetti, UH alumna who works at the state Legislature; Ronette Kawakami, associate dean at the William S. Richardson School of Law; James Koshiba (Hui Aloha); Blanche Macmillan (Hui Mahiaʻi Aina); and Lindsay Pacheco (Ka Poʻe O Kakaʻako).

Maya Soetoro-Ng, UH faculty with the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, will serve as moderator.

“Houselessness is a complex problem and requires many solutions,” explained Soetoro-Ng. “This is a chance for us to examine some of the solutions that are really working, in which unsheltered families are coming together and building their own communities from the ground up.”

The Better Tomorrow Speaker Series is a joint venture of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Kamehameha Schools and UH Mānoa.

Lead sponsors for this forum include the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and the William S. Richardson School of Law. Co-sponsors include Ceeds of Peace and the College of Social Sciences.

For more information, visit the UH Mānoa Better Tomorrow Speaker Series website or email

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