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Illegal Camps Moved Out of Diamond Head State Monument – Six People Cited So Far During Cleanup & Enforcement Operation

Following six months of outreach to homeless individuals living on the slopes of Hawai’i’s iconic Diamond Head, crews from the DLNR Divisions of State Parks and Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), along with a private rubbish contractor removed tons of debris from illegal camps within Diamond Head State Monument. They were joined by state outreach representatives.

“We empathize with anyone in Hawaii who does not have a home, and thank Governor Ige’s homelessness team for the work they are doing to find shelter for people who do not have it. State lands, though, are owned by all of Hawai‘i’s residents and cannot be used as a place for long-term camps,” said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. Spread across the southeast flanks of Diamond Head, parks and outreach workers have found abandoned clothing, food containers, camping equipment, cans and bottles.

Last week, during the sixth outreach activity, social workers and DLNR staff again hiked to each camp. During previous outreach trips since last October, workers have informed people at camps, in person or in writing that they would need to vacate their camps sometime in mid-March. Cottrell continued, “We are encouraged that several of the 36 camps we originally posted are no longer occupied, and we have been told that some people have been placed into transitional housing.”

As with all the previous visits to Diamond Head, a team of DOCARE officers participated today. As of 9 a.m. they’d issued six (6) citations for the violation of being in a closed area. DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell commented, “Citing these people is the last step in this concerted effort to enforce park rules.” This is the third clean-up of illegal camps at Diamond Head State Monument.

Scott Morishige, the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness said, “This operation is not only about maintaining DLNR lands; it’s about connecting people to housing. We’ve been conducting ongoing outreach and notification to the estimated 30-35 people living in the area since October. These efforts have resulted in housing two veterans who had been homeless for a decade.  We will continue to work closely with the state service providers: Kalihi-Palama Health Center, Institute for Human Services, and the CHOW Project, to build relationships with people experiencing homelessness and connect them to housing.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Diamond Head is Hawai’i’s best known natural landmark. Our State Parks are for the enjoyment of all kama‘aina and visitors. Other than the established, paved walking path in Diamond Head crater, the area is off-limits because it’s not managed for public access and therefore not safe.”

The State has identified at least 40 camps or rubbish locations on Diamond Head. So far today workers have filled two large roll-off bins with materials that had previously been tagged as trash or identified by campers as such.

Hawaii Homeless Initiative Would Serve 2200 Households

With a proven track record the coordinated statewide homeless initiative has already provided over an eight-month period, financial assistance to 1,279 households, thereby assisting 3,992 adults and children who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Senator Josh Green provides “Homelessness is Hawaii’s most pressing crisis today and requires a comprehensive, all hands on deck solution, so that we can help our most vulnerable citizens. We need new ideas and the right amount of resources to improve matters immediately.”

“Through the Coordinated Statewide Homeless Initiative, we have helped over 4,300 individuals – 2,306 adults and 2,012 children – all of whom were homeless or at-risk for becoming homeless” said Norm Baker, COO of Aloha United Way. “For every homeless individual we rapidly rehoused, we helped three others who were on the verge of becoming homeless. Homeless prevention assistance is a critically important strategy to finding sustainable solutions while simultaneously assisting those who are currently homeless.”

Vice Speaker Mizuno adds “There is a myriad of reasons why an individual or family enter into homelessness so there needs to be a myriad of approaches to address homelessness. The coordinated statewide homeless initiative has a proven record of cost-effective prevention and rapid rehousing services that need to continue so that more families do not fall into homelessness.”

Governor Ige Announces Increases in Shelter Beds Through New State Contracts

Gov. David Ige announced the state Department of Human Services will award contracts to 33 homeless shelters. Funding will total $13,000,000 for 12 months. The new contracts require shelters to focus on outcome measures such as the number of people they will permanently house over the coming year.

Photo by Sean King

The results of the competitive bids show a net increase in state-funded homeless shelter beds, with 3,761 for the next year vs. 3,577 for last year. Additionally, the shelters are proposing to double the number of people they place in permanent housing from approximately 3,000 to 6,200.

“This is about more than increasing shelter beds,” said Gov. Ige. “It’s about increasing results. For the same taxpayer investment as last year, we’re doubling the number of people getting housed. We are finding better solutions, getting better efficiency, and creating better cooperation.”

The Request for Bids (RFP) process was open to all shelters statewide and follows state law which requires shelters to increase accountability, privacy, and safety for residents while moving people more quickly into permanent housing. In accordance with the state procurement process, shelters were encouraged to ask questions about the RFPs and received written answers. Revisions were made to the RFP based on their feedback. A written record can be found on the state’s procurement office website at:

http://gpcprod.spo.hawaii.gov/spo2/health/rfp103f/detail.php?id=MTI1Mw==&hs=e53b7f8e4919fbec14cb2c182ab6b247.

Contracts will be effective as of Feb. 1, 2017. All state-funded shelters will receive training by the Department of Human Service’s Homeless Programs Office.

Shelter RFP Award Listing

Bed Count Projections

Hawaii County Celebrates New Micro Units to Address Chronically Homeless

Representatives from social service agencies joined Mayor Billy Kenoi and Council Chair Dru Mamo Kanuha today for a ceremony to dedicate Hale Kīkaha, the County of Hawaiʻi’s newest housing project with 23 micro units to address a critical need in Kailua-Kona, particularly amongst the chronically homeless.

micro-unitsNumbers of homeless are increasing statewide. The January 2016 point-in-time count showed nearly 1,400 homeless people on Hawaiʻi Island, an increase of 10% from 2015. Of those people, about 500 were unsheltered in West Hawaiʻi.

“Our families who are homeless need a sense that they have a chance. They can believe that because they can sleep in a clean, safe place,” Mayor Kenoi said. “We’re creating a puʻuhonua, a safe haven, a place of refuge where people can walk around with dignity and respect.”

The $2.5 million Hale Kīkaha is on Pāwai Place in Kailua-Kona’s industrial area, adjacent to the area’s emergency homeless shelter. Hale Kīkaha will provide on-site wraparound social services to residents to increase their chances of success.

Kīkaha means to soar, and the name Hale Kīkaha represents the County’s hope for and commitment to the residents that will call the project home. Design and engineering work was done in-house. General contractor Kona-Kaʻū Construction and a number of sub-contractors completed the project in nine months.

The County recognizes that housing is a primary need, especially in West Hawaiʻi. The County has worked to address homelessness through the nationally recognized best practice Housing First model with a number of projects during Mayor Kenoi’s administration.

West Hawaii Emergency Shelter

West Hawaii Emergency Shelter

Recognizing the most immediate need, the County constructed the $1.8 million, 31-bed West Hawaiʻi Emergency Shelter and opened it in November 2010.

The Homes of Ulu Wini provides 96 units for families, a mix of transitional housing and affordable rentals for families with low-moderate income, or no higher than 80% of the area median income. Construction of the $23.7 million project’s phases were completed throughout Mayor Kenoi’s administration.

The Homes at Ulu Wini.

The Homes at Ulu Wini.

Kamakoa Nui offers affordable home ownership to working families along the Kohala Coast. The Kenoi administration restarted a previous attempt to build workforce housing in Waikoloa Village, and the first families were welcomed into their homes in 2013. To date, all 91 lots at Kamakoa Nui have been sold and 69 homes have been built. Construction continues on the remaining homes, which include six participants in a self-help housing program by Habitat for Humanity. Kamakoa Nui offers fee-simple home ownership to families between 100-140% of the area median income.

A home at Kamakoa Nui.

A home at Kamakoa Nui

In addition to County-built housing, the Office of Housing & Community Development administers programs to assist tenants renting existing housing. Over 2,000 people and families receive over $14 million in assistance every year through Tenant-Based Rental Assistance and the Housing Choice Voucher programs.

“We are measured not by what we do for those who have the most, we are measured by what we do for those who have the least,” Mayor Kenoi said.

Hawaii Governor Extends Emergency Homeless Proclamation

Gov. David Y. Ige today signed a sixth supplemental proclamation on homelessness, which will remain in effect until Oct. 19. The supplemental proclamation provides 60 additional days in which to further expand the state’s collaborative efforts to house the most visible and chronic homeless individuals.  In the past year, the proclamations have helped more than 4,800 people — representing 1,353 families — move out of homelessness or prevent it altogether.

Click tor read

Click tor read

“The tide is turning,” said the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige.  “Collectively, our state is moving forward with a unified strategy that addresses three levers of change: affordable housing, health & human services and public safety. All stakeholders are working together in unison across multiple sectors. This coordinated and persistent approach is moving people off the streets,” he said.

Lever One: Affordable Housing

A major priority for the Ige Administration is to increase affordable housing. The proclamations allowed for emergency housing of approximately 300 homeless individuals who were in jeopardy of being displaced after federal budget cuts to seven local organizations.

impact1Additionally, the proclamations reduced the development time of nine different joint projects with the counties by up to a year per project. These housing projects are specifically designed for homeless individuals and families, including the Family Assessment Center in Kaka`ako Makai, which will open in September and house 240 people per year.  Today’s supplemental proclamation adds two additional City & County of Honolulu long-term housing projects, bringing the total to 11.

Lever Two: Health & Human Services

The proclamations allowed faster distribution of financial resources for permanent housing and to prevent homelessness.  Between August 2015 and July 2016, there was a 51 percent increase in the number of individuals and families moving into housing or preserving housing, as compared to the prior 12-month period.   This includes a 55 percent increase on O‘ahu and a 47 percent increase on the neighbor islands.  The following programs received increased funding:

  • The State Homeless Emergency Grant (SHEG) provides one-time assistance for housing, food, medical and other types of expenses arising from emergency needs.
  • Housing Placement Program (HPP) provides first month’s rent or security deposit, as well as temporary case management, for homeless families with minor children.
  • Coordinated Statewide Homeless Initiative (CSHI) provides homelessness prevention and Rapid Re-Housing statewide, and increases coordination for the statewide telephone navigation service (2-1-1) for homeless individuals.

impact2

Lever Three: Public Safety

By enabling the quick execution of contracts and allocation of dedicated resources, the emergency proclamations supported the reduction in the number of unsheltered persons in the Kaka`ako Makai area.  The population decreased from a high of approximately 300 unsheltered persons in August 2015 to approximately 50 unsheltered persons in August 2016.

Hawaii Governor Announces Allocation of $12M for Homelessness Effort

Gov. David Ige has announced that $12M in funding will be focused on the most visible and chronically homeless people in Hawai‘i.  The appropriation, provided by the Hawai‘i State Legislature during the regular session, was appropriated to the Department of Human Services (DHS) with the flexibility for DHS to allocate. “We know that addressing homelessness is a priority for Hawai‘i,” said Gov. Ige. “We wanted people to understand the framework that guides both DHS and our homelessness efforts.”

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

DHS Director Rachael Wong outlined the DHS multi-generation philosophy, entitled ‘Ohana Nui, which focuses on families and children. The Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness, Scott Morishige, unveiled the state’s framework to address homelessness which is based on three levers of change: affordable housing, health and human services and public safety. “The $12M allocation is a natural extension of this framework,” he said.

LEVER 1: AFFORDABLE HOUSING (FUNDED SEPARATELY)

The first lever in the state’s framework is a high priority for legislators and the administration. Funding for this focus area is coming from separate budgets, but the $12M is helping to complement those efforts.

LEVER 2: HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES ($9.4M)

There will be $6M in new funding for Rapid Re-Housing (or rental subsidies) and Housing First (an evidence-based program that houses and supports chronically homeless individuals suffering from severe mental health conditions, substance abuse or other issues). Half of the Housing First resources will go to neighbor islands.

An additional $1.4M in funding will support the state’s Family Assessment Center being constructed in Kaka‘ako. This includes $500k for renovations and $900k for operating costs for two years.

LEVER 3: PUBLIC SAFETY ($1.925M)

Public safety refers to keeping public places safe and open for everyone. Morishige emphasized that government has an obligation to respond to encampments on public land. Also, the state’s public safety protocol allows the state to properly address areas where it is unsafe for people to live. “This is not to criminalize homelessness,” Morishige said. “We want to connect people with shelter or housing, not just move them from place to place.” The budget sets aside $1.9M in new funding for state departments such as the Department of Transportation, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Public Safety Division and the Hawaii Community Development Authority for enforcement-related activities.

DATA & INFRASTRUCTURE ($675,000)

In addition, $325,000 in new funding will be used for data collection and analysis. “We have to be able to measure progress,” Morishige said. There is also $350,000 in new funding for state-owned homeless shelter renovations and upgrades.

The additional funding in service dollars reflects a nearly 60 percent increase. “This will address Hawaii’s most visible and chronic homeless population that we see on the streets and sidewalks,” Morishige said.

PDF’s:

Governor Extends Emergency Homeless Proclamation in Hawaii

Gov. David Y. Ige today signed a fifth supplemental proclamation on homelessness, which will remain in effect until August of this year. The supplemental proclamation provides an additional 60 days in which to continue the state’s cross-sector collaboration and coordinated efforts with the counties.

Click to read proclamation

Click to read proclamation

“The state has taken strides forward in creating a truly client-centered system among federal, state, county and community organizations,” said the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige. “We are seeing unprecedented alignment of services and a commitment to the common goal of connecting people to permanent, stable housing as quickly as possible.” Morishige made the statement from the Maui Landlord Summit, where he outlined progress in the state’s unified response to homelessness:

Section 8 Landlords Recruited

The Maui Landlord Summit is the fourth in a series of state-supported events aimed at increasing government-assisted housing inventory. It serves to introduce potential landlords to homeless service providers and government agencies providing landlord support. The summit dispels misperceptions about Section 8 and the Housing First program, and is a collaborative effort between the State of Hawai‘i, County of Maui and Maui’s nonprofit service providers.

100 Homeless Families to be Housed

The Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority (HPHA) board has approved emergency rules to establish a special rental subsidy program, which will make available approximately $600,000 to quickly move at least 100 homeless families statewide into housing. HPHA Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi said, “With partnership with local nonprofits, this program is specifically focused on homeless families, where we expect to have an immediate, noticeable and lasting impact across generations.”

Scott Morishige underscored the importance of the developments: “These are two examples of community partnerships the state is forging to effectively and quickly address homelessness.  We are looking at new and creative ways for the community to pool funds, leverage resources, and work in alignment across all sectors to house and stabilize people experiencing homelessness.”

Over the past week, representatives from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and the National Governors Association have been in Hawai‘i as the Governor’s office has convened cross-sector meetings with stakeholders from every county and every sector.

Homeless Population in Hawaii Continues to Increase… Property Crimes Rising

The amount of homeless people in the entire state of Hawaii has come to a crisis level and is now affecting neighbor islands as well.

A 30% increase in Homeless folks on the Big Island alone in the last couple years is just a small example of what is happening here in Hawaii.

Homeless in Hawaii
What do you suggest we do to help the homeless situation in Hawaii?

Homeless in Hawaii – Dream What Could Be Done

A music video dedicated to Hawai’is homeless, with lyrics written by the Lana’i Class of 2020 and music by Matt Glickstein.

Please check out The Huffington Post article about this project: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-schanes/homelessness-the-children_b_1…

[youtube=http://youtu.be/RAx0Tvn_mKs]

To see more music videos like this and hear the album “Songs For a Better World” by Matt Glickstein and the Lana’i Class of 2020, please visit http://www.mattglickstein.com. There will also be a DVD available very soon featuring all of the music videos.

Lawmakers Told by Governor’s & Mayor’s Office that Roundup of Homeless Will Not Occur Prior to the APEC Summit

Media Release:

The House Human Services chair, Rep. John Mizuno, announced today that the state and county (Honolulu) will not seek a “sweep” or “roundup” of the homeless in Waikiki prior to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in November 2011.

REPS. BROWER, MANAHAN, CABANILLA, MIZUNO, AWANA, AND COFFMAN AT THE LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING WITH MARC ALEXANDER - THE STATE HOMELESS COORDINATOR & BRIDGET PALMER HOLTHUS OF THE HONOLULU DEPT. OF COMMUNITY SERVICES.

REPS. BROWER, MANAHAN, CABANILLA, MIZUNO, AWANA, AND COFFMAN AT THE LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING WITH MARC ALEXANDER - THE STATE HOMELESS COORDINATOR & BRIDGET PALMER HOLTHUS OF THE HONOLULU DEPT. OF COMMUNITY SERVICES.

In November, Waikiki will be the center stage for the APEC Summit, before 21 APEC nations and 2,500 journalists.  In an effort to avoid a possible sweep or roundup of homeless in preparation for APEC, the House Committees on Housing and Human Services held a legislative briefing today seeking to secure a plan for a safe zone for the homeless.

During the briefing, Mufi Hannemann (former Mayor of Honolulu), representing the Hotel & Lodging Association, concurred with lawmakers that a “sweep” of homeless in the Waikiki area prior to APEC would look bad for Hawaii.  Mr. Hannemann also pledged support by the hotel association to lawmakers and stakeholders in finding both a short-term and long-term solution to reducing homelessness.

LAWMAKERS TOLD BY GOVERNOR'S & MAYOR'S OFFICE THAT ROUNDUP OF HOMELESS WILL NOT OCCUR PRIOR TO THE APEC SUMMIT

LAWMAKERS TOLD BY GOVERNOR'S & MAYOR'S OFFICE THAT ROUNDUP OF HOMELESS WILL NOT OCCUR PRIOR TO THE APEC SUMMIT

At the briefing, Rep. Mizuno read the email from Chad Buck, the Owner and CEO of the Hawaii Foodservice Alliance and the biggest individual donor (over 400,000 lbs.) of food to the Hawaii Food Bank:  “I support this effort to provide a safe zone for our homeless citizens in need and applaud the efforts by Representative Mizuno to reach out to coordinate the efforts from government, non-profits and the business community. As a business owner and resident, I recognize that the homeless issues that we face will only be solved when we stop relying on just the government. If businesses, non-profits, faith based initiatives and government agencies all join hands, the solutions will come both for the short and long term.”

At the briefing, Marc Alexander, State Homeless Coordinator & Bridget Palmer Holthus, Deputy Director of the Honolulu Department of Community Services, both confirmed their focus in reducing homelessness was on 1)  Affordable Housing, 2) Permanent Housing Solutions for homeless, and 3) Job Development.

“Today was extremely important, because we obtained a commitment from the Governor’s Office and Mayor’s Office that no “sweep” or “roundup” of the homeless in Waikiki will occur prior to or during APEC, said Rep. Mizuno. “Moreover, we confirmed support from the hotel industry and a major food distributor willing to help government in its efforts to reducing homelessness.  Today we gained concurrence with state, county, non-profits, private businesses, and faith based organizations willing to work together to better address homelessness.  A viable solution for our “safe zones” for homeless will be to expand our current homeless shelters, possibly in Kakaako and Kalaeloa, to accept some of the estimated 200 homeless in Waikiki.  These shelters provide homeless with a secured facility to sleep at night, showers, restrooms, meals, healthcare, and workforce development.”

“We have homeless with a mental illness and/or drug addiction who will refuse to go to a shelter and some are homeless by choice, so realistically we will always have a percentage of chronically homeless,” added Rep. Mizuno.  “Working together in a coordinated effort with all the stakeholders allows us greater ability to prove assistance to homeless who desire to transition back into the community.  We offer hope to those that seek it.”