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Record number of homeless asked for services last year

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    Ike Ikea sits inside his tent home along Ilalo Street in Kakaako on May 20.


    A couple sits in a tent on the makai side of Aala Park on King Street.

More homeless people than ever — 14,954 — sought homeless services across the islands in the 2015 fiscal year, representing an increase of 4.7 percent, according to a study released Thursday.

The study by the Center on the Family at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and the Homeless Programs Office of the state Department of Human Services paints a gloomy picture for a state struggling to reduce the largest per capita homeless population in the country.

It found that 672 more homeless people sought services compared with the previous year.

The only positive sign was a 1.8 percent decline in the 3,494 homeless children who accessed services.

The drop among homeless children represented “the good news” in the study, said Sarah Yuan, an associate specialist with the Center on the Family who was one of the authors.

Even then, Yuan said, “the decrease is very little. That’s the only category we saw a drop — and the drop is very small.”

The study represents another perspective on Hawaii’s homeless population and comes on the eve of the June release of the annual “point-in-time” survey of Hawaii’s homeless who were counted in January as part of a nationwide homeless census.

Last year’s point-in-time count found 7,620 homeless people across the state, up from 6,918 the year before. Oahu had 4,903 homeless people counted, up from 4,712 from the preceding year.

The point-in-time count takes a one-day snapshot of each community’s homeless population, while the so-called “Homeless Service Utilization Report” released Thursday looks at how many individual homeless people accessed services over an entire year.

The state’s homeless service system assisted 3,257 people to get permanent housing.

Only 20.8 percent of chronically homeless people found permanent housing last year.

“It’s not like no one is getting help,” Yuan said. “The system is helping thousands of people to find permanent housing. But we’re not doing it fast enough.”

Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator, said Thursday’s study will help Gov. David Ige’s administration determine how $12 million in new homeless legislative funding will be spent.

“Data from the service utilization report is helpful to help the state better target our resources,” Mori­shige said. “It will help us to understand which services are most effective at helping connect individuals or families to permanent housing. The data will help guide our discussions regarding the use of the $12 million appropriation moving forward as we continue to meet with different departments and state agencies.”

The study found that more homeless people among various demographic categories sought help last year.

The biggest gain — 9.9 percent — was seen among 8,250 homeless adults, who represented 740 more homeless adults seeking services than the year before.

And newly homeless people represented 38 percent of everyone who sought homeless services, accounting for 5,717 homeless clients.

They were more likely to be children under the age of 6 or young adults between the ages of 18 and 24, according to the study.

Most of the newly homeless households — 54 percent — were helped through social service outreach services, followed by homeless shelters (41 percent).

Just under half of all new adult homeless — 48.5 percent — had been Hawaii residents for 10 years or more.

Just under 24 percent of newly homeless adults on Hawaii island, Kauai and Maui had lived in the state within 12 months.

The single biggest number of newly homeless households — 482 — reported having a last permanent residence in the Waianae ZIP code of 96792.

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  • I bet we break this year’s record next year, seeing as the dems aren’t doing anything to stop the flow of incoming homeless to our State. If anything, they are taking in more and giving them even more benefits.

    • How nice of our democratic legislature to allocate 12 million to the homeless czar with no plan in place.

      “”Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator, said Thursday’s study will help Gov. David Ige’s administration determine how $12 million in new homeless legislative funding will be spent.””

      Somehow I don’t feel confident that the 12 million will be spent in a way that makes a big difference.

      • More of that money will be spent on hiring more unionized workers (i.e. Democrat voters) to administer the rest of the money. Heck I bet they do a couple million dollar studies (to Political donors) that they won’t follow anyway.

        • Yep, the homeless is big business that allows the politicians to give tax dollars to their political supporters. That’s why Schatz, Gabbard, Takai, and Hirono all support COFA. They don’t want to stop the homeless from moving to Hawaii to freeload, because that’s extra tax dollars they get to give away to friends. So the politicians love having a homeless “problem.” As for taxpayers – you can go scrəw yourself, because the politicians know that this is Hawaii, and they will all be re-elected anyway.

        • This is what the one party rule has brought Hawaii. The local politicians take every opportunity they can to funnel taxpayer money to their donors or preferred religious groups. The homeless problem is but another issue they can exploit to increase the size of their budget and add unionized employees.

    • Fair enough that since the Democrats control our state government, and the problem is not curbed, then they must take the lion share of the blame.

      However, questions, what republican controlled state has stopped this problem? And what are they doing to stop it? By saying, “if anything, they are taking in more” that this is being done on purpose? What exactly do you think a state government can do about stopping the inflow of homeless? Is having an address a requirement to travel interstate?

      • The politicians COULD (but refuse to) lobby to repeal COFA. They COULD (but refuse to) refuse to give COFA immigrants free health care (the federal courts said we don’t have to). They COULD (but refuse to) impose a waiting period so that mainland transplants do not get free welfare the minute they step off the airplane. They COULD (but refuse to) create programs that have the goal of reunifying mainland transplants with their families back home and/or relocate the transplants to places on the mainland with a lower cost of living. They are many things the politicians COULD be doing, but they aren’t — and the ONLY reason they aren’t is because the homeless are a BIG BUSINESS and a perfect way for the politicians to transfer tax dollars into the private pockets of political supports (like unions, developers, so-called “non-profits,” churches, and other private interests).

        • Fair enough. How long is the waiting period on the mainland between arriving in state and being able to collect? Say Texas? I looked, but am unable to determine the differences? Has it ever been proven that “homeless” buy tickets here? Next question, who else does any government transfer money to? You’ve pretty much hit most of those that the government does business with…

    • Thank you President Obama and the corrupt Democrat Party for giving us a super economy that created an entrenched homeless population. Remember Hawaii, we created this political machine and now we live with the consequences. Want a change? Stop our Ainokea attitude and vote for change, stop voting straight “D” on the ballot and I promise we will see change, almost right away.

  • The number of homeless in Hawaii will continue to grow in you the future. The reason is simple-Most of the homeless are lazy bums who don’t want to work and improve their lot. Recent newspaper photos (See Ike Ikea) show able-bodied bums lounging in their tents. Why should they work when they can get free food, living space/accommodations, and government handouts. Recent news articles indicate that Hawaii is the most generous state in government handouts, over $60,000 a year. Why work when you can live for free in most parks and encampments. Just stay out of the most notorious areas, and no one will bother you.

    Just stay out of the public eye, be at the right places for free handouts, and enjoy Hawaii’s good weather and ineffective HGEA and UPW employees. The homeless have it down pat, move before the sweeps and move back the next day.

    • Riffraff – the product of a riffraff culture. Children who have to grow up with riffraff parents go mostly the same rout. Therefore early intervention should be to take their children away and pay them for permanent birth control.

    • Interesting point or question you make, “Why work when you can live for free in most parks and encampments.” Question, if it’s so great, do you do that? If no, why not?

      • Advertiser1, obviously it is appealing to many people as we get more mainland transplants every day. I personally wouldn’t consider that because I have a responsibility for my children’s welfare. If I were a single chronic, I definitely would as there would be more money for drugs.

  • “3,494 homeless children”

    Gov, are you reading this? This means you can reduce the homeless population by 3,494 if you just have Child Protective Services do the job they are charged with. These kids have no legal shelter, limited access to restroom or shower facilities, limited access to food, limited access to water, drug-abusing parents, etc. Yet CPS chooses to harass single mothers that verbally discipline or pinch their children in public. One single mother worked two jobs to send her daughter to Punahou and CPS made her go to a 6-month counseling plan to “make sure she cared for her daughter.” BTW she yelled at her daughter and grabbed her arm after her daughter shoplifted. An ignorant bystander called the cops citing assault and battery. When my wife, a teacher, reports her homeless students suspicious injuries (like they are supposed to) CPS refuses to take action because they don’t want to “kick the parents when down.” Kids should come first. Put them in foster care until the parents clean up their act. That will make some homeless parents get clean and hopefully change their lifestyle permanently, further reducing the homeless numbers. Win win for everyone.

  • If they are “residing” at the parks they should pick up their own trash. Same goes for those who live in public housing. Years ago our military unit did community service at KPT. We painted and hosed down the stink urine from the stairwell while the tenants just stood around and watched us.

    • Nicely said. We have one local homeless lady that sweeps sidewalks in downtown. She should be tops on the list for assistance. The other 99% just lounge around all day. Our office building overlooks Iolani Palace and I can see the lazy mainland transplants laying on the lawn the entire day. Yesterday, I counted 16 homeless on the lawn. Tourists take pics of the homeless instead of the palace. So embarrassing.

      Perhaps the $12 million dollars should be used to acquire a Kakaako warehouse that can be set up as a low-security prison for homeless that break the law. Without access to drugs, it would be a good way to get clean. Better than giving them free housing FOR using drugs via Housing First.

  • If you look at the photo above, there are coloring books, markers, crayons and stickers under Ike’s tent. Child Protective Services, here’s an easy question:

    Would you let your kids have a sleepover in these homeless communities rampant with illegal drug use?

    If the answer is no, then DO YOUR JOB and get these homeless kids into foster care. Enough enabling the chronic parents. The cost will be subsidized by the reduction in welfare benefits with less dependents for the homeless parents to claim. This results in less money for drugs and possibly add (if they cared about their kids) to the reasons to get clean.

    • I totally agree that these kids should be placed in foster care if possible. But, in order to do that, you need to have available foster parents. I’ve had the opportunity to work with both the state and private groups such as Project Visitation and Foster Family Programs and others who advocate for children and try and recruit foster parents, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. No matter how good the state made it sound, would you take in a 16 year old troubled boy? Or any child for that matter?

      • Yes, we know the foster care reimbursement does not provide an incentive for many as it barely covers the cost of caring for the child. How about using the $12M? That would be an extra $300 a month per kid to encourage foster families to enroll. Instead of finding ways to coddle the chronic parents, let’s help the homeless kids.

      • BTW, why would you assume they are troubled? Every year, my wife teaches a handful of homeless kids and they have been the most hard-working, mature, polite and well-adjusted kids in the class. I suspect these homeless fifth graders care for their chronic parents. They appreciate when my wife buys them clothes, shoes and food. I would feel comfortable to take any one of these kids into our household.

        At the other end of the spectrum, there are the kids that are drug dependent with behavioral problems. These kids need special treatment to get them clean and away from their addict parents. This would obviously extend beyond the capabilities of a foster family as medical attention is necessary.

        • Sorry, I wasn’t saying that all 16 year old boys are troubled. But, there certainly are those out in the foster system. I think what I was getting at was that if given a choice, would the typical foster parent choose the 5 year old child or the 16 year old?

          I suppose it’s worth a try to offer a larger stipend. I’m curious as to the return on investment on that.

          And I agree that coddling chronics is not the solution. But, what else can CPS do? I guess maybe the group home concept?

        • To Mickels8 and your wife: thank you for providing your wife’s fifth grade homeless students clothes, shoes and food. Teachers make a difference and your wife is going well beyond expectations. Bless her.

  • I am forced to see Krook Cladwell’s banner ads on this website DAILY touting his “amazing” accomplishments. Why no mention of the “progress” he’s made on THIS issue? Not even a mention in passing…

  • I wish one of the news stations did an investigation on what state is putting these homeless one one way tickets to Hawaii- once they did- oh man

  • “The data will help guide our discussions regarding the use of the $12 million appropriation moving forward as we continue to meet with different departments and state agencies.”
    Translation – We’re still trying to figure out how best to funnel the 12 million to preferred Democratic party donors in the form of contracts, services and additional unionized public employees.

  • As long as we are a D-State we will have Homelessness………and there is no end in sight!…… with it and keep voting Democrate…

  • Can’t confirm, but I’ve been hearing that the recently opened shelter at Sand Island has already been “trashed & ransacked”. . . . . by the “appreciative” residents.

    The taxpayers are being held hostage by the homeless . . . . we are expected to conform to their lifestyle, and at our expense. A much tougher approach is the ONLY solution to this sickening problem.

    In preparation for the Olympics in the 1980’s, South Korea made a “clean sweep” of their homeless. Disappeared . . . .PAU! No more problem!
    New homeless?! No problem! Disappear again! Great solution!

  • Why is it when they do the homless count they come up with between 5,000to 7,000 homless . But this 14000 asking for help is woefully or somewhat suspicious, was someone fudging the numbers in the homless counts recorded. Was this a slight miscalculation by our politicions? Unacceptable, dishonest and distorted information from our great leaders in government!

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