Following a successful first year of getting homeless people into so-called “Housing First” apartments and homes, the city is now seeking bids to expand the program across Oahu.
The Institute for Human Services, which operates Hawaii’s largest emergency shelter, found Housing First homes for 176 people by its Oct. 31 deadline, including 35 children and 20 families, at a cost of $2.08 million. IHS is now in the second year of its two-year contract.
“This year we’re going to keep those individuals and families housed and expand our efforts to care for an additional 100 households for a total of 225 households through Housing First alone,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a statement.
Under the old model, homeless people were required to quit drinking or using drugs to be placed in housing. But studies have shown that it’s cheaper to put them into homes immediately and deal with other issues later. This model can yield a drop in costs for 911 calls, ambulance rides and emergency room visits.
“The city has shown that Housing First can work on Oahu,” Caldwell said.
The next Housing First contractor will be expected to provide permanent supportive housing for 100 chronically homeless households at a cost of $2.2 million by leveraging $1.2 million in federal HOME funds and $1 million in city general funds, according to the city.
An informational briefing for potential service providers will be held March 8 and the deadline to submit proposals is March 22.
To view the request for proposals, visit Honolulu’s Department of Fiscal Services Division of Purchasing at bit.ly/1TzYGQt.