The Homeless Paradise


Photo By: NBC News

Photo By: NBC News

I wake up everyday with the awareness that this life I have come to know will someday end. It makes it easier to get over my fears, to be uncomfortable as I learn what it means to “grow” as a person… a soul.

I gravitate towards those in vulnerable situations because I have an intimate understanding of what it means to be abandoned, neglected, abused, and degraded both physically and emotionally. I know what it means to not have a home — to yearn for stability, love, family, hope, and the freedom to choose my future.

When I see the “homeless,” I see my past in them. I feel their pain and their frustration, their simple joys and hope. I feel their heart. And they feel mine. That’s what this is about… life is about connecting with our hearts and most of my time is spent getting to know the person behind the circumstance.

Nobody is perfect. I’m not perfect. And as much as I would love to have a life without pain and suffering, I’ve learned to embrace it and use the energy to fuel my desire for something better.

One day at a time, one person at a time. We can heal together.




32 thoughts on “About

  1. We’ve seen your father often in the keeaumoku area, many time, and overjoyed to see what he looks like now. There’s simple truth in knowing that everyone, homeless/ill or not, had or has a family somewhere in time that cares deeply for them. Mahalo for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aloha Reid,
      Thank you so much for reaching out about my father. We are all so grateful to see him doing better with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism. And messages like yours help to reaffirm that I did the right thing in sharing our story. I know there are many, many others out there who still desperately need some form of assistance. I hope that my father continues to be an example of a success story… Thank you again for sending me a message. It means the world to me. 🙂



      • Junior on said:


        I saw the story of you and your father on the internet. I am so happy for you and your dad.
        The story brought tears to my eyes, knowing that you are so fortunate to have the opportunity to “re-connect” with your father.

        I lost my dad to cancer as a sophomore in high school, now at 58 years of age, a story such as yours reduced me to tears. Always cherish the moments with your father…God Bless you and your family.



  2. Wansun on said:

    Diana, I am inspired by your work. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw a small article about you on PBS news today. Very touching. Jeff


  4. Chris on said:

    Section 8 Reform

    Is needed


  5. Chris on said:

    I live in Eureka Ca

    Homeless camps are growing.
    Drugs and meth too.
    Poor People need Section 8 housing.
    –Section 8 reform–


  6. Chris on said:

    People with no income should get Section 8 help. Reform is needed. Waiting lists rules need reform.


  7. Randy on said:

    I worked near the Interstate building from 2008 to this year, when my office moved. I’ve seen your dad many times, in back of the Interstate building, lying or standing between the electric pole & the trees between the building and “Princess Pig” establishment on Young St.. The gardener of my building, Vincente would always stare and wonder about him. His humility always shined through his condition. From the time he had the white shirt to his ragged clothes.
    I once left toothpaste & brush next to him as he slept under the tree, hoping he would use it when he woke up. And then he was gone, and I wondered what happened to him.
    Today, I read your photo essay in “Honolulu Magazine”, and felt “chicken skin” when your dad’s pictures appeared. “Ahh, he’s ok” I said. A little mystrey can rest easy in my soul.
    I’m now working for public housing, downtown….perhaps your dad’s influence guided me here….in a subtle way? I don’t know. But thanks for your story Diane.


  8. Ken Lee on said:

    Hi! I just watched the video of you showing your father the book/article. I was moved both by his reaction as well as seeing just how hard it was for you. I can’t help but be struck by the Korean-ness of it, I don’t know how else to describe it. Thank you for your work. I’m forever changed.


    • Aloha Ken,

      Thank you for reaching out and your kind words. I know what you mean about the “Korean-ness” quality of our dynamic. It’s interesting that I’m only this way with my parents. Wishing you the best this day and every day.



  9. Aloha Diane,

    Wow I was so moved hearing your story and the Comeback both you and your Dad been through together. Your Dad’s transformation is incredible, it’s jus to prove that with some love, patience, understanding, and forgiveness that can make a difference in someone’s life, in this case your Dad.

    I admire the work you do with the homeless. It takes a very special person to sit there with them and listen to there heart as they pour out their stories.

    I too have been humbly working with the homeless and touched by their stories. I have created a video that captures the moment of who they were before becoming homeless. it’ll be an honor to share this video with you on the Humanity side of those who are homeless living on the streets. Below is a link to the video……

    Humanity of The Homeless In Paradise

    William K. Malina
    MC Designs – Malina Creative Designs


  10. scot park on said:

    Wow, I used to see your dad almost every day while running to 24 hour fitness Kapiolani. I am korean myself and I would always wonder what happened to your father ?. I would feel so sad for him and I knew he was Korean, but he would never say anything. I am glad he’s doing better.


  11. Aloha Diane,
    I used to live on Beretania st. across from central union church….I first saw your dad about 11 years ago walking in front of the church and I ran down crying and told him God loves him and wants me to give him $20 for food….I pointed up towards the steeple of the church and said Jesus loves you and wants to help you…I would see him from my 3rd story apt. now and then through the year and your dad would stop at that same spot and look up towards the steeple and wait there for while and then continue on. For years I would see him in front of the church and I would extend my arms towards him and pray. I was married in 2010 to my wife Jennifer and again from my apt. I shared the story with her as he walked by. I am filled with so much joy that he is doing better. God bless you and your family.
    Kenny Epps


  12. Katrina on said:

    Excellent work, Diane! My daughter is now 30 and her father has been on the streets for many years with schizophrenia. It has been difficult for the family to express compassion for him. Your photography speaks volumes.


  13. Your story reminds me a lot of my father who left our family when I was a teenager. Being the eldest, I felt the pain the hardest. Years later, he called for us on his deathbed. I thought he was dead and felt I was looking at a stranger, He asked forgiveness and I said the words but didn’t mean it. It was only a decade later when I met the Lord that I was totally able to forgive and love him.

    I saw your story on yahoo. I believe it was the Lord who led me to see it. He is calling me to minister to the homeless in Honolulu. One morning in July, He said to me, “It pains my heart to see the suffering of the oppressed and the down-trodden. Would you like to join me in setting the captives free?” How can I refuse? So I am leaving everything behind and move to Homolulu in January 2017.

    Your Father’s recovery inspires me that indeed God is still in the miracle working business. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. Please visit my website:


  14. I found your site on yahoo, which I read all the time. With all of the homeless “temporary” solutions that our legislators are passing, it makes me sad that NONE of our politicians or government workers make an effort to get to know these people. They are PEOPLE. I want to say that your website inspires me, but inspire would just be a lame way of saying it makes me aware, without any action. your work and your website are totally MOTIVATING (if that’s even a better word) to help me, to help anyone, or ANYONE get out and bring some bit of relief to people who live in unstable tents and situations here in Hawaii. Please keep doing what you’re doing, I wish more of our government workers would do what you do.


  15. Amazing story and project Kim. Well done. Doug


  16. warren on said:

    You are such an inspiration !


  17. Laurie Reemsnyder on said:

    What a beautiful and touching story! I teach photography and believe it has incredible powers to help and heal in the right hands…and clearly, you have used it to do both. Thank you for sharing your story and reaching out to your father; you are an inspiration!


  18. Julie Strader on said:

    Hi Diana, I just read your story on yahoo, and that led me to your blog, and I was touched by it. You are an amazing person! This world needs more souls like you. Keep up the good works that you are doing. You leave me inspired to do something that will help those in need.


  19. Jeremey on said:

    I was genuinely touched by your Dad’s story, Diana. Best wishes in making a difference for those in need.


  20. I used to see your dad from time to time on my way to and from work. I have since moved to the mainland and have always wondered whenever I visited, what happened to those who I saw in my neighborhood since the city is shuffling the homeless around. It warms my heart knowing that your dad is doing better.


  21. Ms. Kim,

    ‘I have to try!’
    Very powerful words, which are so hard for many to sustain, but you did,
    and because of it, what was once a void, is being filled.

    May your dad continue on the right path, and your bond with him grow
    stronger by the day.

    Tampa, Florida


  22. God has a special place for you..
    Every homeless person has a voice, its just a matter of whos willing to listen.

    Thank you for being you


  23. Hi Diana,
    Thank you for sharing your story! Would you be interested in speaking to the Ala Moana Lions Club about your experiences with your father and other homeless individuals? If you are, can you email me at I will be able to provide more details. Mahalo! Carl


  24. Roberta on said:

    Aloha mai Diana,
    I was deeply touched by the stories of your Dad and others in the “houseless” community. I have a younger brother who suffers from mental illness and a traumatic brain injury that has him residing at HSH.
    I raised my brother for the most part because my mother had to work. Unfortunately, my brother couldn’t deal with his mental illness and turned to illicit drugs, alcohol and crime to pay for his habits. As a result of his decision making, he ended up in prison. Prison is not a place for the mentally ill. Fast forward, he has lived at the HSH since 2009.
    Had he not resided there, I’m almost positively certain he would be another life on the streets. I do my best to assist those in my hometown of Wahiawa and hope to further my volunteering efforts elsewhere. I know many have stories and I never judge. Thank you for showcasing the importance of empathy and compassion for the “lost” souls. Thank you for sharing their stories.



  25. Leslie Diamond on said:

    Aloha Diana,
    I came across an article on Facebook last night, my cousin posted it. Drawn by the picture on the link (your father) and your name, I thought, “Hey I know a Diana Kim”. I continued reading and thought, “Wait she’s the same age as me.. maybe I know THIS Diana Kim!!”. Well whataya know!! We went to school together at Maui Waena, I believe. I remember you as funny, happy and not shy at all. Needless to say I NEEDED to read your blogs even if it was 1 am!! I can’t help but feel so very proud of you, your achievements, who you’ve become and very proud to know who you are! I am very inspired and at the same time vexed. Vexed because I feel like if you can do all of this, why haven’t I!? I have always had a pull in my heart towards human services. I used to work for Hale Kipa as a Youth Advocate. I have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom for now until my youngest is older, but I know I can still do more while I wait. This blog inspired me and sparked a flame in me to do MORE. My children (ages 14,10,8 & almost 1), my husband, a few friends/family and I went to Kaka’ako this past Christmas to give out food. We made Chook along with a bunch of other snacks and water, but we never even tried to talk to anyone. Didn’t even try to connect with anyone. This time around, I want to do more.
    I want to commend you and thank you. With all that is going on with the homeless and “removing” them, someone needs to be their voice to help remind us that people that are homeless are not things to be “removed”. They are people. Mahalo


  26. Haley Eaton on said:

    HI Diana, reading about your journey has brought me so many emotions, I can’t put them into words. I am curious to know if you have met a man who goes by Pocho? He is my father and has been homeless in Honolulu for several years. I live on the mainland, and a trip to Hawaii is not in our budget. To be honest, I don’t want my daughter to see him. She has seen pictures, and heard stories, but has no memory from the times when we flew out there. If he were to pass today, I would want her to remember him as she knows him now.. The scary part is that if he were to pass today, I would never know. There is no one to let me know, no one to even identify him by his real name. I am terribly afraid. If you do come across a Pocho, please consider sharing him on your blog.


    • Aloha Haley,

      Thank you for reaching out and sharing your own personal story about your father. Sadly, I can’t say that I know anyone who goes by the name Pocho. But if I saw a photograph of him, I may recognize him. If you’d like, you can send an e-mail and I’ll let you know if I recognize him.

      Wishing you the best — big hugs.



  27. Aloha Diana,

    You know I´ve been following your life and I´m always touched by your words.
    That´s the reason I´ve nominated you on my web for the Versatile Blogger Award. I´ve mentioned writers and people who have much to share, and can bring a new light to our eyes and souls. (I´m Argentinian and my main readers are Spanish speakers, but we all speak and read in English).
    I hope many more readers come to your pages here :-). You ARE a light for us…
    Congrats! My infinite hug for you.


    • I think I really needed to read your words today. Thank you for sharing the positivity back with me… I am touched that you nominated me. 🙂 And I have to admit that I’m surprised people continue to visit, but am so glad to hear it helps. Wishing you lots of love this weekend.


      Liked by 1 person

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