Progress on homelessness: First statewide decrease in 8 years

Posted on Aug 29, 2017 in Capitol Connection, Featured

Progress on homelessness at the Family Assessment Center in Kakaako – The Koli family (center) surrounded by FAC staff.

No issue has galvanized the community more than homelessness — with the governor’s homelessness coordinator Scott Morishige and his team leading the charge. For the first time in eight years, the latest Point in Time count of Hawai‘i’s homeless population showed a 9 percent overall decrease compared to the same time last year, with Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i and Maui counties showing some of the largest declines.

In Kaka‘ako the state’s Family Assessment Center (FAC) is marking its one-year anniversary of offering support services and housing placement in 90 days or less for homeless families. To date, 31 families totaling 127 people have found housing — and new lives. One example is the Koli family (right, center) pictured with FAC staff on the day they moved into permanent housing. Mom Chanda has a full-time job and her daughters, Daimyn and Ofa, are doing well in school. As FAC director Adrian Contreras said, “I’m so proud of what we’re able to do here. Our families are learning how to thrive, not just survive.”

At the groundbreaking for Kahauiki Village with plumbers’ union head Reggie Castanares, Governor Ige and Duane Kurisu.

Through public-private partnerships, such as businessman Duane Kurisu’s Kahauiki Village, the plan is to create a plantation-style community for 600 homeless adults and children on state land near Keehi Lagoon. The governor called it “an example of what we can do as a community” to tackle the challenge of homelessness. The Hawaii National Guard helped lay the housing foundation, and the Institute of Human Services will manage the project. Rent, including utilities, will cost $900 a month for two-bedroom units and $725 for one-bedroom units. The plan is to have the first 30 families move in by Christmas.



Read more in our September issue