Hawaii’s homeless population, already the highest per capita rate in America, jumped 4 percent between January 2015 and January 2016, according to data released today.
Statewide, the numbers increased from 7,620 homeless people to 7,921, representing the fifth annual increase since 2011, according to Partners In Care and Bridging the Gap, two organizations that released the results of a nationwide survey of homeless people conducted the week of Jan. 25.
Oahu’s homeless population increased by only 1 percent — from 4,903 last year to 4,940 this year.
“We want to see the numbers go down, obviously,” said Marc Gannon, chairman of Partners In Care.
At a press conference announcing the so-called Point in Time Count data, Gannon later said positive signs contained in the data “further validates the need for continued coordiantion and collaboration across the board. … We all have the responsibility to come together and work together to address this issue.”
But Gannon was optimistic that Hawaii only saw a 4 percent increase compared to the year before, when the numbers grew by 10 percent. Between 2013 and 2014, the numbers had increased by 9 percent.