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Hawaii gets federal help to expand programs for homeless


    A homeless person lies on a bench at a bus stop near the state capitol on Feb. 23.

Hawaii’s chronically homeless people will benefit from more time in programs to help them with mental health or substance abuse issues.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today that Hawaii was selected to participate in a special Medicaid program.

It will allow the state to help people continue participating in Medicaid programs geared toward mental health and substance abuse for a longer period of time.

Judy Mohr Peterson of the state Department of Human Services says those who improve during mental health and substance abuse programs may regress after those programs end.

The federal assistance will expand services available to Medicaid-eligible clients who are homeless. It also will give the state access to national experts to help implement programs like Housing First.

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