comscore AUW gets $1M from state to kick off assistance for homeless | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News

AUW gets $1M from state to kick off assistance for homeless

  • DENNIS ODA / 2015

    Social service volunteers walked through the brush area around the shores of Pearl Harbor in August to talk with homeless individuals about the services they were providing.

The state has transferred the first $1 million in emergency homeless funding to Aloha United Way to provide relief to more than 1,300 homeless or at-risk Hawaii households, but the money hasn’t yet been distributed to the social service agencies that were picked to operate the program.

Gov. David Ige announced in his State of the State address on Jan. 25 that Aloha United Way would be provided with $5 million this year to “jump-start a new public-private partnership” to cope with homelessness.

The plan calls for nonprofit organizations and the County of Hawaii to be subcontracted by AUW to distribute money to eligible families and individuals to cover rental security deposits, monthly rents and past-due rents, utility deposits and monthly utilities.

The program is designed “to deliver direct services aimed at working homeless families and individuals who require short-term financial assistance,” according to a statement from Ige’s office.

The subcontractors are required to verify eligibility for the program by confirming the clients are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless unless they get help.

Norm Baker, chief operating officer of Aloha United Way, said his agency has identified the 18 agencies that will receive initial funding under the state contract, and said AUW expects in the next week to tell each of them how much they will receive in funding.

AUW should be actually distributing money to the agencies “within a couple of weeks,” Baker said through a spokeswoman. AUW will also train the nonprofit subcontractors with a focus on tracking the program outcomes and performance to measure the results, according to Ige’s office.

“Thanks to our private-public partnership with the state, AUW is able to quickly and efficiently get these funds to the individuals and families who need it most,” Baker said in a written statement.

Each family that receives money under the program is to have an individualized housing plan that will “identify goals, intervention and performance measures” that apply to each family. The agencies distributing the money are also required to provide counseling and referrals to the families as needed, and to “cultivate new landlords” to participate in the program.

The agencies are to provide assistance to the clients within five business days of receiving completed applications under the program, according to the AUW contract with the state.

The first $1 million under the contract was provided to AUW in early March, and the goal of the program “is to quickly and efficiently bring resources to those experiencing homelessness — and to closely measure those results,” according to a statement from the Governor’s Office. “This funding is designed to immediately help people get off the streets — or help them avoid homelessness altogether.”

The state Department of Human Services finalized its contract Feb. 17 with Aloha United Way for $5 million under the provisions of the emergency homeless proclamation signed by Ige last fall. The proclamation allowed the state to award the funding without competitive bidding.


The following are the 18 agencies that will receive initial funding under the state contract:


>> Catholic Charities Hawai‘i

>> U.S. Vets

>> Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center

>> The Salvation Army

>> Gregory House Programs

>> Alternative Structures International

>> Waimanalo Health Center

>> Kalihi-Palama Health Center

Hawaii County

>> Catholic Charities Hawai‘i

>> Hope Services Hawaii

>> County of Hawaii

>> Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity Council


>> Catholic Charities Hawai‘i

>> Kauai Economic Opportunity


>> Catholic Charities Hawai‘i

>> Family Life Center

>> Maui Economic Opportunity Inc.

>> Ka Hale a ke Ola

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  • Why is taxpayer money going to the AUW? How much of a cut will they be taking? Why aren’t other NGOs allowed to fund raise in City and State offices, complete with payroll deductions?

    • I have a lot more confidence in the administrative abilities of the AUW than I do in those of the state. What’s more objectionable is the heavy-handed pressure exerted on state workers to contribute part of their paychecks to the organization.

      • I agree and support your “Comment”! BTW : Is the woman featured in the article’s lead -photograph–with her thumbs in her pockets (look’n Butch)–one of “Caldwell’s” alleged “Expert’s”?

  • What bothers me about all this is that the focus seems to be on red tape. It sounds like the homeless have to fill out forms about transition plans, an individualized housing plan that will “identify goals, intervention and performance measures”. The service agencies have to track plans, gather statistics, focus on tracking the program outcomes and performance to measure the result. All this record keeping costs tons of money and takes time away from face to face help.

    How about this: job 1 is to put the person or family in a home. Then the service agency writes down “put the Whatever Family in home at such and such address.” Then a couple months later check on them and write down “still there, working out well” or “got evicted for (whatever) and is now (wherever.)”

    Instead, the agencies will spend hours (=$$) filling out state and federal reports about every penny they spent.

    • Citizen X, I agree but that’s why Hawaii has 9.5 times more levels of bureaucracy than the average State. It’s the way it’s done. Trump would have a field day here!!

      • Your comment “Hawaii has 9.5 times more levels of bureaucracy than the average State” is not supported by any source I could find. Not even by Charles Koch’s Libertarian Cato Institute.

  • It’s ridiculous to involve another bureaucracy of AUW to skim a sizable chunk off the top before getting to the people who need it. Friends of friends helping themselves to our tax dollars… 🙁

  • When is the state sending out receipts so I can claim this as a charitable gift when I file my taxes for next year? It may only amount to a couple of cents per person but my bucket is small compared to the states black hole that keeps sucking in all of our money.

      • Money should come from people that voluntarily donate to the cause of their own free will. Just because the state tells you to support the AUW doesn’t mean you need to give them money. Same thing when the unions tell you to vote for their endorsed candidate. Who you vote for is your choice, not what the union tells you to vote for. There’s no space on a ballot to write your name as if a union member audits each vote to see if you voted for the person they endorsed.

  • The paperwork you require ensure homeless will not be interested. I suggest the homeless post no trespass warnings by their tents to keep away social workers.

  • Too many cooks involved. Would prefer if there was only one agency involved in working with the homeless. Do not think AUW is the proper agency to be given the funds to
    dispense to the multitude of agencies. Makes it very chaotic and hard to see where the money is going and how effective the efforts of each agency is.

  • the state better monitor AUW payroll…. I am sure they will be soon getting raises and bonuses. I never give to AUW now after I learned how much these guys like baker earns annually from this supposed non-profit agency… sickening!

  • It just goes to show the utter incompetence and an admission by Ige his administration can not handle the situation. Next will mainland consultants.

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