by Big Island Video News on June 9, 2024 · 6:00 AM CDT

The number of houseless on Big Island streets dropped since last year by 28%.

According to the Homeless Point in Time Count – a federally mandated census that seeks to count anyone who slept on the street, in a car, or in other areas – homelessness decreased from 1,003 persons in 2023 to 718 in 2024.


Brandee Menino, executive director of Hope Services, plays with toddler as outreach workers conduct survey with parents for a federally-mandated Point in Time Count on Jan. 27, 2023. (Photo: Tiffany DeMasters/Big Island Now)

Bridging The Gap, a coalition of agencies working to end homelessness on the neighbor islands, presented the results of the 2024 Homeless Point in Time Count Wednesday.

This year, volunteers canvassed neighbor island communities, asking people: “Where did you sleep on January 22nd?”

“We attribute the decline in homelessness to the unprecedented funding our county has allocated to homelessness and affordable housing,” said Paul Normann, Chair of Community Alliance Partners. “When donors and funders see our local government has skin in the game, it gives us leverage to attract even more funding for compassionate and effective programs.”

While the count does not capture every unsheltered person, it provides a one-night snapshot of homelessness in Hawai‘i. The data collected is compared county to county and year to year, to help stakeholders understand homelessness in their communities.

According to county officials, the top three reasons cited for the current living situation of individuals experiencing homelessness are family/relationship conflict (23.4%); unable to afford rent (18.5%); and disability, which includes mental, physical or substance use (13%).

“Because each island has a distinct community, it’s important to look at each individual county’s results to get an accurate picture of homelessness in that community,” says Bridging the Gap Chair Brandee Menino. “That is especially true with the impact of the Maui fires.”

The report includes data for the years the count was conducted from 2018 through 2024.

The 2024 Point in Time Count data for Hawai’i Island also showed a decrease in families with children experiencing homelessness by 52% since 2018. Since last year, family homelessness dropped by 14 families.



A Hope Services outreach worker conducts a survey in Kona with a homeless man called “OG,” which he said is short for “Old Guy,” for the federally-mandated Point in Time Count on Jan. 27, 2023. Photo: Tiffany DeMasters/Big Island Now

There was a reduction of 12 veterans experiencing homelessness a drop of 24% from 2023.

“These numbers reflect the hard work and dedication of our community partners and county departments working together to address homelessness on our island,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “While we celebrate this progress, we know much work is still to be done. We remain committed to ensuring that every resident has access to safe and stable housing.”

Over the past few years, Hawai‘i County has appropriated funding to address homelessness. Sixteen grant agreements with 13 nonprofit organizations were made to improve delivery of services and build capacity among service providers.

Approximately 169 affordable housing units have been built to serve households earning less than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), with 18 of those units reserved for extremely low-income households (earning less than 30% of AMI).

The county is also utilizing 2,300 federally funded housing vouchers, including the distribution of 114 Emergency Housing Vouchers for households experiencing homelessness and an additional 65 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

For the full Point in Time Count report, click here.