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Hawaiian Electric Company and the HEI Charitable Foundation have donated $30,000 to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine’s Hawai‘i Homeless Outreach & Medical Education Project (HOME) to purchase an electric vehicle.  It will be used to transport homeless patients to medical and dental appointments.

“Hawaiian Electric and the HEI Charitable Foundation are happy to support the John A. Burns School of Medicine, its faculty and students, in providing assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in our community, especially the children,” said Brennon Morioka, Hawaiian Electric general manager for electrification of transportation. “Earlier we donated EVs to twenty charitable and educational institutions across our state and this donation continues our effort to assist those who are making Hawai‘i a better place while we increase visibility for electrifying transportation and our clean energy future.”

The Hawai‘i HOME mission is to improve health care access and quality for the homeless while increasing student and physician awareness and understanding of this group’s healthcare needs. The project serves sheltered and unsheltered homeless at free clinics at seven sites across Oʻahu. The team provides care for acute and chronic medical problems, preventative care, health education, dental and vision screening, minor procedures, resource management, labs and vaccines, and free medications for the uninsured.

The clinics are managed by volunteers and medical students through all four years of the school curriculum. Third- and fourth-year medical students serve as the main providers, supervised by faculty and volunteer community physicians. More than 3,700 patients have been helped since the project began.

The HOME project collaborates with U.S. Vets in Waiʻanae, Kealahou West Oʻahu, Institute for Human Services, Catholic Charities, ʻAiea Bridge, CHOW Project, Aloha Medical Mission, and First United Methodist Church. Diagnostic Laboratory Services provides uninsured patients with free lab services, the Hawai‘i State Department of Health provides free vaccines for homeless children, and 5 Minute Pharmacy provides medication management and discounted medications for HOME patients.

Dr. Jill Omori, HOME Project founder said, “Living on the streets creates a state of chronic stress and decreased immunity. For many homeless people their health is further compromised by exposure to communicable diseases, harmful environmental conditions, violence and poor nutrition.”

Omori continued, “While Hawai‘i HOME Project provides care for the patients that it serves, many of our patients would benefit from specialty care and are in need of labs and imaging that we may not be able to provide at our clinic sites. By providing free transportation, we can significantly increase the amount of medical and dental services that our patients are receiving.” Omori concluded, “We are tremendously grateful to Hawaiian Electric and the HEI Charitable Foundation for their generous support that will make such a difference in the health of people struggling with homelessness.”

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The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.