Hawaiian Electric funds electric vehicle for UH medical school's homeless outreach project

This story appeared in Pacific Business News on Monday, September 10, 2018

The John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has purchased an electric vehicle for its student-run Hawaii Homeless Outreach & Medical Education project.

The new vehicle, which was financed through a $30,000 donation from Honolulu-based utility Hawaiian Electric Co. and the Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation, will be used to transport homeless patients to medical and dental appointments, the university said in a statement.

The Hawaii H.O.M.E. project, which was founded in August 2005, provides free medical services to sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals at free clinics at seven sites across Oahu.

The clinics are managed by volunteers and medical students. More than 3,700 patients have been helped since the project began, according to a press release.

“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,” Brennon Morioka, Hawaiian Electric general manager for electrification of transportation, said in a prepared statement.

“Earlier we donated EVs to 20 charitable and educational institutions across our state and this donation continues our effort to assist those who are making Hawaii a better place while we increase visibility for electrifying transportation and our clean energy future,” he added

The H.O.M.E. project collaborates with U.S. Vets in Waianae, Kealahou West Oahu, Institute for Human Services, Catholic Charities, Aiea Bridge, CHOW Project, Aloha Medical Mission and First United Methodist Church, the press release stated.

In addition, Diagnostic Laboratory Services provides uninsured patients with free lab services, the Hawaii State Department of Health provides free vaccines for homeless children and 5 Minute Pharmacy provides medication management and discounted medications for patients.

United Airlines is planning to invest $200 million to upgrade Hawaii's airports over the next nine years.

"By providing free transportation, we can significantly increase the amount of medical and dental services that our patients are receiving,” H.O.M.E. project founder Dr. Jill Omori said in a statement. “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.”