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Ask The Mayor: What’s Being Done About Homelessness?

January 20, 2019, 12:24 PM HST · Updated January 17, 12:29 PM
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Shopping carts used by homeless individuals in the vacant lot next to the Family Life Center in Kahului. Photo file by Wendy Osher.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his staff.

Q: What is being done about homeless people in Maui County? I know there’s some spots in Kahului, but I’m also seeing pockets around Lowe’s and Home Depot. Any updates would be much appreciated. Mahalo!

A: Assisting our community members who do not have shelter is a major concern for my office, and I can say that our Homeless Program Division went out to some of the areas you identified to make assessments.

Division staff members are aware of some hot spots in Kahului as well as between Home Depot and Walmart, and have notified the Maui Police Department for assistance. Homeless populations are very dynamic, though, so spots can be ever-changing.

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As for an update, we are having growing success in housing individuals, thanks to the work of our staff and Family Life Center. Homeless outreach members are in the field every day, working hard to find homes for our homeless people and providing them with social services.

We also are looking forward to increased funding and support from the state after Gov. David Ige signed a new statewide emergency homelessness proclamation, last month. The plan aims to accelerate housing, expand shelter capacity and make services more accessible for unsheltered homeless people.

Plans call for giving $200,000 to the County of Maui and establishing an ‘Ohana Zone, which will provide housing-focused support services. Our Homeless Programs Division is reviewing how it will use the newfound assistance.

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We must work together with the state, nonprofit agencies and local community groups to help this vulnerable group of people, and show them support and compassion. Our goal is not to simply move people around; rather we seek to offer them solutions and services.

As a reminder, if anyone witnesses violations of the law or has concerns about public safety, please call Maui Police Department’s non-emergency number at 244-6400. Mahalo for your question and concerns.

Want to ask the Mayor?

Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, by phone at (808) 270-7855 or via mail to 200 S. High Street, ninth floor, Wailuku, Hawaiʻi 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

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