When you’re homeless or on the verge of being on the streets, where can you turn for help? Although several agencies offer services, there has been no one place in the state to call for emergency aid.
That is about to change, thanks to a new partnership announced recently by Governor Ige. The state Department of Human Services and Aloha United Way are joining forces to provide immediate relief to homeless individuals and families.
The recently finalized $5 million AUW contract includes short-term rent and utility payment for rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention; establishment of a Housing Coordination Center using AUW’s 211 phone system; and development of longer-term strategies to address the needs of specific homeless populations, including youth under age 18, prisoners recently released, and those with chronic health conditions.
“This plan will help us focus on homelessness prevention and ways to reach more people throughout the state,” said the governor. “The bulk of the funds ($4.6 million) will enable AUW to help 1,390 households over the course of a year to avoid homelessness by getting them into a home or stabilizing their current housing situation.”
All of the state funds will be used for direct community assistance with AUW providing $500,000 in private funding for staffing. State homelessness coordinator Scott Morishige said, “Currently, it’s very difficult for someone who is homeless to get help quickly. We hope through AUW and its network, we can better coordinate the services people need.”