Mobile Homeless Bus Shelters Planned in Hawaii

A nonprofit group feeding the homeless has new plans for getting people off the streets — tour buses.

The group called H-5, or Hawaii Helping the Hungry Have Hope, is unveiling the first two of a fleet of mobile homeless shelters for Oahu.

Nineteen used buses have been donated to H-5 director Utu Langi by Roberts Hawaii for the project.

Langi is removing the bus seats and having the interior of each 40-foot vehicle retrofitted with eight beds in small partitioned units.

H-5 has been distributing about 6,000 meals a month around Oahu to increasing numbers of homeless.

The group plans to introduced the buses Wednesday, kickoff for the annual Walk the Talk 130-mile trek around the island to raise awareness of homelessness.

One of the buses is to travel with the walkers to introduce the mobile shelter to the homeless. Langi says he hopes to have five buses ready as shelters by mid-2008.

The buses will drive up to areas where homeless congregate and offer the shelter through other organizations that will provide bathroom facilities, since the buses are not equipped with restrooms.

"The idea is also not to burden one community or one organization too long," Langi said, adding that the buses will offer better conditions than larger shelters and will reach people who won't or can't make it to the government-sponsored shelters.

"I'm hoping to help a lot of people with this goofy idea," Langi said.