Office of the Governor – News Release – Governor Green, Mayor Blangiardi Discuss Key Indicators from Annual Point in Time Count

Posted on May 15, 2024 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases





May 15, 2024

HONOLULU – Governor Josh Green, M.D., today outlined his administration’s groundbreaking efforts to expand its homeless programs – especially those targeting the state’s chronic homeless population.

In the 2024 Oʻahu Point in Time Count (PIT) report released today, Partners In Care found that Oʻahu’s homeless population grew 12% from the previous year from 4,028 to 4,494.

That included a 17% jump in unsheltered homeless residents from last year’s 2,365 to 2,766 and a 4% jump in sheltered homeless individuals from 1,663 in 2023 to 1,728.

“This report underscores the need to tackle Hawaiʻi’s homeless crisis with bold and innovative solutions and it shows how much more work we have ahead to meet our goal of reducing the state’s homeless population by 50%,” Governor Green said.

The Governor said he was encouraged by a key finding in the report: That Oʻahu’s chronic homeless population declined this year.

According to the PIT Count report, there were 535 fewer chronically homeless people living on the streets – a decrease of 16% from 3,355 last year. The report defines a chronically homeless person as someone who has been homeless for at least a year or who has been homeless on four or more occasions over a three-year period. Many of these people not only face economic hardship, but suffer mental health problems, substance abuse and other diseases such as diabetes.

The chronic homeless account for a disproportionate share of the health care costs in our homeless safety net system. A report by the University of Hawaiʻi Center on the Family found that the average healthcare costs for a chronically homeless person treated in the ER, in substance abuse programs and in other healthcare settings is about $8,162 a month – or 76% higher than that of a homeless person in a sheltered environment.

That’s a healthcare cost savings of about $3.3 million based on the reduction of Hawaiʻi’s chronically homeless population.

“This shows that our efforts to house our houseless neighbors with our Kauhale Initiative, are on the right track,” said Governor Green. “We plan to open a total of 13 kauhale around the state by the end of the year and more than two dozen by 2026, creating 1,400 to 1,700 new units to shelter and provide wrap-around services for our most vulnerable population.”

An important point not mentioned in the PIT Count: Since the Point In Time Count was conducted in January, the state and the City and County of Honolulu built six kauhale on Oʻahu, including Kāneʻohe, Middle Street, Waikīkī, Wilson Street and Iwilei – placing a roof over the heads of hundreds of Hawaiʻi’s homeless individuals and families.

“We aren’t doing this alone. Thanks to our unprecedented partnership with the City and County of Honolulu, we are working closely with Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration in opening new kauhale and in providing additional homeless services throughout Oʻahu,” Green said.

The partnership and collaboration between the city and state toward housing the homeless is unprecedented, said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “We knew that city resources alone would not be enough to tackle this really difficult issue, but the fact we are able to partner with the state, given our combined resources, we can really make a difference. Weʻre determined to do that, the right way.

At the Iwilei Resource Center, the state and the city are working together to provide shelter, support and medical treatment for homeless individuals who aren’t sick enough to be in the hospital.

The state is also expanding the “Return to Home” program to fly back out-of-state homeless individuals who want to be with their network of family and friends as they get back on their feet. This year, the state is providing an additional $500,000 in funding for the program, the Governor said.

The news conference can be viewed here.
Images from the news conference, courtesy Office of the Governor, are available online.
Governor Green presented this slide deck during the news conference.
Renderings of the Iwilei kauhale can be found here.

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Media Contacts:
Erika Engle
Press Secretary
Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i
Phone: 808-586-0120
Email: [email protected]

Makana McClellan
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi
Cell: 808-265-0083
Email: [email protected]