Partners in Care and Bridging the Gap announced on Monday that the number of homeless individuals statewide has decreased for the second consecutive year, and that homelessness on Oahu decreased for the first time since 2009.
The announcement was made during the release of the 2018 Statewide Point in Time Count data at a joint news conference held at the State Capitol.
The news conference revealed key statewide findings, including:
- An almost 10 percent decrease in homeless individuals from 7,220 persons in
2017 to 6,530 persons in 2018.
- Kauai: 28.9 percent decrease
- Hawaii Island: 8.8 percent decrease
- Oahu: 9.4 percent decrease
- Maui: 2.6 percent decrease
- A 10.6 percent decrease in homeless families
- A 12.5 percent decrease in the number of homeless children in families.
- A 4.8 percent decrease in chronic homeless individuals and families
- A 13.5 percent decrease in homeless veterans statewide
“This report shows that the gains we made last year are continuing to solidify, and that the tide is definitely starting to turn on homelessness in Hawaii,” said Brandee Menino, Chair of Bridging the Gap and CEO of Hope Services Hawai`i Inc. Bridging the Gap represents all neighbor islands. “This is a continuing trend, not a one-time thing.”
“However, our efforts to end homelessness are far from over,” Menino said. “We need to maintain our commitment to reducing homelessness by continuing to invest in programs that work and build housing that is truly affordable.”
This year’s Point in Time Count was conducted during the week of January 22, 2018, and included an estimated 600 volunteers statewide.
“In the last few years, our homelessness service providers have made tremendous strides in using data and evidence-based practices to address homelessness,” said Heather Lusk, the Vice Chair of Partners in Care and Executive Director of the Life Foundation and CHOW Project. “We know the Point in Time Count doesn’t give us an exact number of the number of people who are currently homeless, but this is an indicator that we are gaining momentum. For the sake of the individuals and families affected by homelessness, and our broader community, we need to continue to quicken our pace in building upon the foundation we’ve laid.”
The 2018 Statewide Point in Time Count report included recommendations to sustain progress in addressing homelessness statewide. The recommendations include implementation of a housing focused Coordinated Entry System, expansion of Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing programs, increasing affordable housing inventory, and avoiding policies that criminalize homelessness.
Ultimately, the data collected from the Point in Time Count ensures that Hawai‘i’s Continua of Care meet the national guidelines on tackling homelessness throughout the state set by the Continua’s federal partner – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The data also play an integral role in the local and national planning for the Continua of Care, acting in support of policy and resource allocations.
The Point in Time Count represents the best available data to estimate one-day homeless prevalence for the State of Hawaii. The primary objective of the count is to obtain a reliable estimate of the sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families at a specific point in time by asking those encountered, “Where did you sleep on the night of January 22, 2018?”
The data is then mined and analyzed for trends and patterns. Information gathered, along with other available data, is used to help inform policy, strategy and allocation of resources.
The 2018 Hawaii Statewide Point in Time Count Topline Report can be read in full here.
City and County of Honolulu photo.