Honolulu, August 16, 2011 – Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his coordinator on homelessness, Marc Alexander, on Monday concluded the 90-Day Plan on Homelessness, emphasizing the importance of the ongoing partnerships created as a foundation to ending homelessness in Hawaii.
“We have seen unprecedented coordination and focus on homelessness in Hawaii in the last 90 days, and this is just the beginning,” Abercrombie told residents of Next Step Shelter in Kakaako. “In order to succeed in this effort, we need to maintain our focus on long-term solutions that get people off the streets and into permanent housing. This will require persistent and coordinated action from government, the private sector, as well as the support of the public.”
The 90-Day Plan, which began May 17 and ends Tuesday, Aug. 16, was the catalyst for immediate collaboration and coordination among government, community groups, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, businesses, shelter and outreach services. The Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness, created July 19 by Executive Order, meets for the first time Aug. 25 to continue coordination efforts.
“Now that we made fast progress on key objectives with the 90-Day plan, we have to tackle the more difficult issues of increasing access to permanent supportive housing, workforce development and development of more affordable housing,” said Alexander. “The newly created Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness will develop the long-range plan for our State that will lead us toward the goal of ending homelessness.”
- On Maui, 65 people were moved from the streets or shelters into permanent housing.
- On Kauai, 44 people were moved into permanent housing from the streets or shelters.
- On Hawaii Island, 136 people were moved into transitional or permanent housing.
- Next Step Shelter in Kakaako expanded its hours to be open for individuals and families on the weekends.
- The state’s first ever “safe parking” zone program has been implemented by Hope Services Hawaii in its Hilo shelter, Kihei Pua.
- Online resources and information have been updated, including a “wish list” and “volunteer opportunities” for the public in the various shelters that serve people who are homeless.See www.homeless.hpha.hawaii.gov, twitter.com/aloha4homeless, and www.hawaii.gov/homeless
- The statewide homeless hotline system received more than 500 calls and emails, and continues to receive calls daily. Through the hotline effort, more than 130 were referred into housing resources. The hotline has also served as a means to connect service providers with one another.
Other important objectives achieved over the 90 days include:
- More than 200 people from Waikiki and the urban core were moved from emergency shelters or the streets into transitional or permanent housing, including 40 vulnerable individuals. In the Waianae area, 85 people were moved into permanent housing.
- The 90-Day Plan was led by Alexander and involved the following statewide organizations:
- Bridging The Gap
- Waikiki Health Center
- City & County of Honolulu Department of Community Services & Office of Housing
- Institute of Human Services
- State Department of Human Services Homeless Programs
- Waianae Community Outreach
- Partners in Care
- U.S. Vets
- Housing and Urban Development, Hawaii Region
Abercrombie has stressed the critical role that the public can play in this effort. Call-in numbers have been established for citizens who want to help a person who is homeless or may need health and safety intervention.
- These helplines are:
- Waikiki Health Center’s Care-A-Van Program on Oahu: (808) 791-9359; email@example.com
- HOPE Services on Hawaii Island: (808) 935-3050; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Family Life Center on Maui: (808) 877-0880; email@example.com
- Kauai Economic Opportunity: call (808) 245-4077, x228; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Persons wishing to help someone who may be suffering from homelessness must provide the following information:
- The location and time when the homeless individual is known to frequent the area
- A detailed description of the individual or group
- The caller’s contact information
After a report is made, an outreach team will be assigned to visit the person. Emails and calls can be placed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Emails are preferred.
“What we’ve achieved so far was not easy, but we’ve seen measurable success because everyone came together to assist individuals who needed a hand,” Abercrombie said. “We will be relentless in doing whatever it takes – in housing, in services, and in caring for one another – to end homelessness in Hawaii.”
Hawaii 24/7 Staff . “Abercrombie, Alexander review homelessness progress” Hawaii247.com, 165 August 2011. http://www.hawaii247.com/2011/08/16/abercrombie-alexander-review-homelessness-progress/