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Hawai‘i’s Homeless Population Increases to 7,921

June 29, 2016, 2:36 PM HST · Updated June 29, 7:11 PM
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Marc Gannon, chair of Partners In Care, at today's press conference on homelessness.

Marc Gannon, chair of Partners In Care, at today’s press conference on homelessness.

A report on the number of homeless who live in Hawai‘i, called the “Statewide Point In Time Count,” was released today at a joint press conference held in Honolulu at Central Union Church.

The study revealed an overall increase in the number of homeless in the state compared to last year.

The Point In Time Count, compiled by Hawai‘i’s two Continua of Care, Partners In Care (PIC) and Bridging the Gap, represents the best available data to estimate one-day homeless prevalence for the state.

The primary objective of the count is to obtain a reliable estimate of the sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families at a specific point in time by asking those encountered the following question: “Where did you sleep on the night of Jan. 24, 2016?”

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The data is then mined and analyzed for trends and patterns. Information gathered, along with other available data, is used to help inform policy, strategy and allocation of resources.

The report’s key findings and next-step recommendations include:

  • 4% overall increase in the numbers of homeless individuals from 2015 (7,620 persons) to 2016 (7,921 persons). The 2016 increase in overall homelessness is the fifth annual increase since 2011. However, the increase from 2015 to 2016 is significantly lower than the increase of 10% from 2014 to 2015 and
  • 9% from 2013 to 2014.
  • 3% decrease in the total number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless veterans statewide compared to 2015, with a 12% decrease on O‘ahu.
  • 12% increase in the overall number of unsheltered individuals and families since 2015.
  • 4.5% decrease in the overall number of sheltered individuals and families since 2015.

“What this year’s report tells us is that collectively—Hawai‘i’s two Continua of Care must continue to work with stakeholders to support both immediate and long term solutions to homelessness,” said Marc Gannon, chair of Partners In Care. “Partners In Care is dedicated to taking a community-based approach to this complex issue and we have identified several areas of focus in addressing this year’s data. These include enhancing our housing focused Coordinated Entry System; expanding short-, medium- and long-term Rapid Re-Housing programs; increasing Permanent Supportive Housing programs; and building and acquiring affordable housing.”

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Ultimately, the data collected from the Point In Time Count ensures that Hawai‘i’s Continua of Care meet the national guidelines on tackling homelessness throughout the state set by the Continua’s federal partner, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The data also plays an integral role in the local and national planning for the Continua of Care, acting in support of policy and resource allocations.

“The Statewide Point In Time Count is useful in guiding Bridging the Gap’s efforts to address homelessness in Kaua‘i, Maui and Hawai‘i Island,” said Maude Cumming, chair of Bridging the Gap. “The Statewide Point in Time Count provides an excellent reminder and opportunity for Bridging the Gap and Partners in Care to engage the general public, community leaders and private businesses in statewide homeless initiatives.”

Partners In Care is O‘ahu’s Continuum of Care—a coalition composed of homeless service providers, government representatives and community stakeholders with a mission is to eliminate homelessness through open and inclusive participation and the coordination of integrated responses. PIC is a planning, coordinating and advocacy alliance that develops recommendations for programs and services to fill needs within O‘ahu’s Continuum of Care for homeless persons.

For more information about PIC, visit www.partnersincareoahu.com.

Bridging the Gap is rural Hawai‘i’s Continuum of Care. Bridging the Gap was designed to promote community wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness, provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and allow state and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families, while minimizing the trauma of dislocation. Bridging the Gap promotes access to mainstream programs and optimizes self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

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