Our Shallow Subsidy has Housed a Family!

In the fall of 2015, articles about homelessness were featured in the newspaper on a daily basis. On October 12, 2015, the Reverend David Gierlach challenged all churches to house at least one homeless person. However, our Outreach and Social Justice Committee already had a plan. We had already approved the basic idea of a Shallow Subsidy and were starting to refine how to go about putting it into action.

A Shallow Subsidy is a strategy to help homeless have sufficient money to rent an apartment. Often families have some income but not enough to rent at Honolulu prices. A Shallow Subsidy (think “scholarship”) of a few hundred dollars per month might be enough when added to their own income to boost them up to Honolulu’s market rate.

The Outreach Committee chose to work with Family Promise of Hawaiʿi with whom we have partnered since 2007. Family Promise (familypromisehawaii.org) carefully screens families, accepting into their program only those with no drug or alcohol or untreated mental illness. Families in the program are housed in participating churches, one week at a time, while Family Promise caseworkers help them find a home and provide counseling and other services. Since Family Promise of Hawaiʿi began operation in 2006, they have succeeded in getting 80% of their families into sustainable housing within three months. The Cathedral’s participation consists of helping provide meals for our partner church, First Christian, during the three or four weeks they host the families each year.

We asked Christel Magallanes, MSW, Program Manager to find us a worthy family. A couple months later, Christel found a hard-working mother, Lina, who holds down two jobs at Subway and Lowes. Her husband, Kolini, who uses a wheelchair, watches over their two children: son, Dravyen and daughter, Analyse.

photo: Lina's family
Lina’s family

Lina and family found an apartment in Kalihi that they are able to afford with the help of our $300 per month subsidy. They were overjoyed to move into their own place a couple weeks ago and would like to meet us. Lina and family will attend church on Sunday, October 23rd for the 8:00 service. Please welcome and congratulate them on working hard to improve the conditions of their lives.

Over the next twelve months, Lina and family will continue to receive our $300 Shallow Subsidy. Christel Magallanes, Program Manager at FPH will continue to coach Lina on budgeting and building her employment skills to increase her monthly income. By one year from now, Lina and family should be financially independent.

We as a parish can be proud that we have taken action to solve Honolulu’s homeless problem: we have housed one family using a Shallow Subsidy for a year.


The Cathedral’s Outreach Committee has donated $3,600 as a “shallow subsidy” for one year’s assistance ($300/mo.) to a family in the Family Promise program moving into new housing. This is to fulfill our promise to the Diocese of a year ago to help house at least one homeless family.


Family Promise letter (PDF, 10-7-2016)