Governor’s Homeless Plan Shows Signs of Success
By Sonia Isotov
Today, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Coordinator on Homelessness, Marc Alexander, concluded the 90-Day Plan on Homelessness. Among other accomplishments, they reported that on Maui 65 people were moved from the streets or shelters into permanent housing.
The governor also emphasized the importance of the ongoing partnerships created as a result of the 90-Day Plan, which began on May 17 and ends tomorrow. Various government, community groups, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, businesses, shelter and outreach services have all come together to focus on coordinating efforts on solving the homeless problem in the state.
“We have seen unprecedented coordination and focus on homelessness in Hawai’i in the last 90 days, and this is just the beginning,” said Governor Abercrombie to residents of Next Step Shelter in Kaka’ako. “In order to succeed in this effort, we need to maintain our focus on long-term solutions that get people off the streets and into permanent housing. This will require persistent and coordinated action from government, the private sector, as well as the support of the public.”
On July 19, the governor created by Executive Order the new Hawai’i Interagency Council on Homelessness to continue the coordination efforts. The Council will meet for the first time on August 25.
“Now that we made fast progress on key objectives with the 90-Day plan, we have to tackle the more difficult issues of increasing access to permanent supportive housing, workforce development and development of more affordable housing,” said Alexander, in a written statement. “The newly created Hawai’i Interagency Council on Homelessness will develop the long-range plan for our state that will lead us toward the goal of ending homelessness.”
The governor also reported today that the following objectives have been achieved throughout the state under the 90-Day plan:
- More than 200 people from Waikiki and the urban core were moved from emergency shelters or the streets into transitional or permanent housing, including 40 vulnerable individuals. In the Wai’anae area, 85 people were moved into permanent housing.
- On Kaua’i, 44 people were moved into permanent housing from the streets or shelters.
- On Hawai’i Island, 136 people were moved into transitional or permanent housing.
- Next Step Shelter in Kaka’ako expanded its hours to be open for individuals and families on the weekends.
- The state’s first ever “safe parking” zone program has been implemented by Hope Services Hawai’i in their Hilo shelter, Kihei Pua.
- Online resources and information have been updated, including a “wish list” and “volunteer opportunities” for the public in the various shelters that serve people who are homeless. See www.homeless.hpha.hawaii.gov, twitter.com/aloha4homeless, and www.hawaii.gov/homeless.
- The statewide homeless hotline system received over 500 calls and emails, and continues to receive calls daily. Through the hotline effort, over 130 were referred into housing resources. The hotline has also served as a means to connect service providers with one another.
The 90-Day Plan was led by Alexander and involved the following statewide organizations:
- Bridging The Gap
- Waikiki Health Center
- City & County of Honolulu Department of Community Services & Office of Housing
- Institute of Human Services
- State Department of Human Services Homeless Programs
- Wai’anae Community Outreach
- Partners in Care
- US Vets
- Housing and Urban Development, Hawai’i Region
On Maui, citizens who want to help a person who is homeless or in need of health and safety intervention can call Family Life Center on Maui: (808) 877-0880 or email [email protected].
Persons wishing to help someone who may be suffering from homelessness are asked to provide the following information: the location and time when the homeless individual is known to frequent the area; a detailed description of the individual or group; and the caller’s contact information.