862 Homeless Individuals on Maui, Down %1

April 10, 2019, 8:53 AM HST · Updated April 10, 8:53 AM
Wendy Osher · 103 Comments
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Homelessness in Kahului, Maui (4.10.190 Photo credit: Wendy Osher

On Maui, total homelessness decreased for the third year in a row.  There was a 1% drop in homelessness in Maui County to 862, down 11 individuals from last year, when 873 homeless individuals were tallied on Maui.

There were a total of 442 unsheltered homeless individuals in Maui County. That’s down 7% from the previous year.  Broken down by region, the number of unsheltered homeless included: 192 individuals in Central Maui; 93 in Kīhei; 92 in Lahaina; 42 in Upcountry; 15 in Lower Waiehu; and 8 in Hāna.  The remaining 420 individuals were identified as sheltered homeless, which was up 5% compared to last year.

Family homelessness on Maui decreased by 9% with 90 homeless families in 2019 compared to 99 in 2018. Veteran homelessness decreased by 21% in Maui County with 46 homeless veterans in 2019 compared to 62 in 2018, according to the report.

Since 2015, the homeless count on Maui is down 24% from the 1137 homeless individuals on record four years ago. Over the years the homeless count on Maui was 1137 in 2015; 1145 in 2016; 896 in 2017; 873 in 2018 and 862 in 2019.

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The information was included in data compiled by Bridging the Gap, a coalition of agencies working to end homelessness on neighbor islands.  The coalition presented the results in their 2019 Homeless Point in Time Count Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

The Homeless Point in Time Count is conducted each January on a given night. This year, volunteers canvassed parks, beaches, and other areas, asking people “Where did you sleep on January 22nd?” The federally mandated survey seeks to count anyone who slept on the street, in a car, or in other areas not meant for human habitation.

Rapid re-housing was one of the intervention areas identified to help individuals exit homelessness.  According to the National Low Income and Housing Coalition, “Out of Reach 2018” study, Hawaiʻi has the highest housing wage in the county.  In order to afford a two-bedroom unit, the report states that residents must earn $31.13/hour in Maui County.

“While the Point in Time Count does not capture every person experiencing homelessness, it provides a one-night snapshot of homelessness in Hawaiʻi. The data collected is compared county to county and year to year, to help stakeholders understand homelessness in their districts,” the coalition noted.

Highlights of the neighbor island report (including Kauaʻi, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island) featured the following statistics:

  • Overall neighbor island homelessness decreased by 2% (2,035 persons in 2018 to 1,995 persons in 2019).
  • Family homelessness on the neighbor islands decreased by 18% (216 families in 2018 to 177 families in 2019).
  • Veteran homelessness on the neighbor islands decreased by 3%.
  • Youth homelessness on the neighbor islands decreased by 11%.

The report reflected an overall decrease of 2% in homelessness across the neighbor islands; However, coalition representatives say the data also showed that “each island has its own unique story.”

Hawaiʻi Island experienced the largest overall decrease, with a 21% drop in homelessness. On Hawaiʻi Island, “the substantial decrease was a surprise, since last year’s natural disasters displaced more people than usual,” said Brandee Menino, Bridging the Gap Chair in a press release. During the January count, 67 people stated their homelessness was caused by natural disasters.

This year, Kauaʻi County experienced a 51% increase from 2018, with the increase attributed to “more oversight and planning, an increase in the number of volunteers, and improved execution of Kauaʻi County’s Point in Time Count.”

“Even though the data shows that homelessness is on the decline, there is still much work to do. We need to continue to invest in affordable housing, and maintain Housing First and Rapid Re-housing programs,” said Maude Cumming, previous Chair of Bridging the Gap.

For further information, see the topline report, or view the full report here.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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