Hilo, Hawaii Nov. 7, 2011 – HOPE Services Hawaii and Community Partners held Project Hope – The Downtown Hilo Registry Week in late October. This kicked off Hawaii’s participation in the “100,000 Homes Campaign”, a national effort to house 100,000 Homeless by July 2013. As the first community in the State of Hawaii to participate, community volunteers outreached all across the Downtown Hilo to find, identify and survey the area’s homeless in order to create a by-name, photographic registry of local homeless and prioritize the most vulnerable for housing.

Brandee Menino, CEO of HOPE Services Hawaii says about the project, ” Project Hope has provided us with an opportunity to change the way we serve the medically vulnerable and chronically homeless here in Downtown Hilo. A total of 130 surveys were completed, and we approximate an additional 20 individuals declined to participate. Of the survey participants, 38 (30%) were found to be vulnerable based upon health conditions and/or other indicators associated with a high mortality risk for homeless persons.

We are taking a concerted effort to house the most vulnerable homeless persons in an effort to reduce the public’s cost of homelessness, and with this data, we will be able to adjust systems in order to quickly move the medically vulnerable into permanent supportive housing opportunities.”

During the week of October 24 – 26, 2011 between the hours of 4am and 7 AM, 11 teams made up over 50 community volunteers canvassed the streets of Downtown Hilo, from “Blue Lights” at the edge of Keaukaha, Reed’s Bay, Suisan bridge, Wailoa State Park, canoe club and judges stand, Bayfront soccer fields, Downtown Hilo parking lots, Bandstand, area parks, streets & cubby holes of Downtown Hilo from Kapiolani Street to makai , Wainaku Riverbed and bridge to Clem Akina Park. The volunteer teams used Community Solution’s Vulnerability Index to survey and create a by-name list of individuals experiencing street homelessness who are most at risk of premature death.

Community Volunteer Partners who participated in this week’s Registry Week included New Hope Church’s Under His Wings Ministry, the Hawaii Police Department – Community Policing, Community Mental Health Center, Hale O’luea Clubhouse, Department of Land and Natural Resources, community volunteers, college students from the University of Hawaii-Manoa, University of Hawaii-Hilo, Hawaii Community College, Hawaii Island Home for Recovery & lead by HOPE Services Hawaii, Inc.

In addition to systematically gathering the names, pictures, and dates of birth of individuals sleeping on the streets, the teams also captured data on their health status, institutional history (jail, prison, hospital, and military), length of homelessness, and previous housing situation. These data were collected by use of a 32 item questionnaire. The Vulnerability Index was used to identify those who have been homeless the longest and are the most vulnerable. This list will be used to target new and available housing and service resources to the most vulnerable in an effort to reduce chronic homelessness within Downtown Hilo. The Vulnerability Index is based on research by Dr. Jim O’Connell, which shows certain medical conditions place a homeless individual at a higher risk than others for dying if they remain on the streets.

Summary Information

  • 130 individuals experiencing street homelessness were identified and surveyed in Downtown Hilo, including hillsides and vehicles.
  • 38 (30%) were found to be vulnerable based upon health conditions and/or other indicators associated with a high mortality risk for homeless persons.
  • More than 50 community volunteers helped administer the surveys.
  • 87 (67%) pictures were taken as part of the survey.

The 100,000 Homes Campaign launched by Common Ground in New York supports a national, long-term goal to house 100,000 vulnerable, homeless individuals by 2013. It has since moved under the leadership of Community Solutions based in Los Angeles.

The mission of HOPE Services Hawaii is to bring to life gospel values of justice, love, compassion and hope through service, empowerment & advocacy. The end goal of “Project HOPE, the Downtown Hilo’s 100,000 Homes Campaign” is to identify the most vulnerable persons in our community, locate suitable housing and offer support services to help them maintain their housing. As an outcome-oriented and data driven organization, we are convinced that homelessness is a preventable condition and we believe resolving it is key to creating healthier communities.

Watch HOPE’s 100K Video (rough cut)

For Download



Contact Information:

Brandee Menino, Chief Executive Officer, HOPE Services Hawaii
808.935.3050 Ext. 113

Becky Kanis, 100,000 Homes Campaign at bkanis@cmtysolutions.org