January 4, 2013. A ceremony and press conference for the opening of the new U.S. VETS / YWCA homeless shelter for women veterans was held today in Makiki. Attendees included such "dignitaries" as Gov. Abercrombie, Kimberly Frank, CEO, YWCA of O'ahu, Barbra Pleadwell, Chair, YWCA of O'ahu, Dr. Kimberley Cook, Executive Director, U.S. VETS, Dr. William Dubbs, Acting Medical Center Director, Veterans Administration, Darryl Vincent, COO, U.S. VETS, Steve Peck, President U.S. VETS, and Kymberly Pine, Honolulu City Council. You may have seen a picture in the StarAdvertiser on January 5, about the event, featuring a photo of one of the residents. Although we support shelters and any help that can be provided to the homeless of Hawaii, this event seemed to be for the politicians and executives. Since this is a non-profit, what was the actual cost? Could the money be used more wisely to help the program?
Some of the residents want you to know that they felt they were forced to attend and sign a waiver to be on camera. Some said they had to take off from paying jobs to attend. Although they attended the event, they expected to be in the background - not right up front. The veteran featured in the StarAdvertiser is upset she was prominently pictured as the face of homeless vets. Now, her picture will be in social media forever, and may affect her future ability to get ahead. The residents were also given bags and scarves to wear-- cheap advertisements that they were homeless! What are they supposed to do with these?
Meanwhile, the sponsors threw a big party, with a lot of press coverage - featuring themselves in fancy dress and leis, and giving speeches.