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Homeless problem improves, poll finds

  • DENNIS ODA / JUNE 21

    Police patrol the sidewalk on their Segways at Kakaako Mauka Gateway Park. They are making sure the sidewalk is not being blocked by the homeless.

People on Oahu generally feel that the island’s homeless situation has gotten better in the year since the beating of a state representative in the heart of an entrenched encampment in Kakaako, and far fewer believe the problem’s gotten worse, results of the latest Hawaii Poll show.

In a Hawaii Poll released last July just after state Rep. Tom Brower was attacked while photographing the encampment, 73 percent of respondents indicated that homelessness on Oahu had gotten worse over the previous 12 months.

A year later, only 47 percent of Hawaii Poll participants surveyed from June 30 to July 9 now believe the situation has gotten worse over the previous year. The latest Hawaii Poll was conducted by Ward Research.

“I would say it’s gotten a little better,” said poll participant Georganne Akamine, 76, of Waipio Gentry. “There’s been some progress, but it has in no way eliminated the problem.”

Overall, 12 percent of respondents in the Hawaii Poll said the homeless problem has gotten better, compared with only 4 percent who felt the same way in July 2015.

Ige, Caldwell react

In the latest so-called Point in Time Count census of Oahu’s homeless population, led by social-service outreach workers in January, the island saw an increase of 37 additional homeless people, representing a gain of less than 1 percent.

While more people were tallied in the Point in Time Count, the administrations of both Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell have said that joint efforts also have moved hundreds of people off of Oahu’s streets and into shelters, transitional housing and so-called Housing First rental units.

The latest Hawaii Poll responses were statistically even with a January Hawaii Poll that asked whether Caldwell and Ige were doing “a good job” addressing homelessness on Oahu.

Some 47 percent of July respondents said Caldwell is doing a good job on the subject, compared with 45 percent in January.

Ige’s positive numbers were far lower than Caldwell’s but also were statistically even from poll to poll. In January 33 percent of respondents indicated Ige was doing a good job addressing homelessness on Oahu, compared with 34 percent this month.

“Over the past year, there has been unprecedented collaboration with an ‘all hands on deck’ approach that has been building momentum,” Ige said in a statement. “In Kakaako alone, nearly 300 people have been permanently housed in less than a year.

“We recognize the size and scope of homelessness in Hawaii, which is why I issued the Emergency Proclamation on Homelessness and subsequent Supplemental Proclamations, to quickly connect people to permanent housing and supportive services. The Legislature also allocated $12 million to address homelessness and those resources will be deployed to make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.

“There are countless people across this state and in all sectors who are fully devoted to ending homelessness. Their work is being recognized over time in the poll’s measurement of whether homelessness is getting better or worse, and the data show that the collective efforts of all involved has slowed the growth rate.”

Caldwell said in a statement that the city had no comprehensive homeless program when he was elected mayor in 2013.

“Three and a half years later, with the support of the City Council, we have a wide range of homeless initiatives that get results,” Caldwell said. “We have embraced Housing First and contracted with IHS who has housed 176 extremely high-need people with a 97 percent retention rate. … The Pauahi Hale Hygiene Center is the first of its kind in Hawaii. We saw an opportunity to pilot an idea that works elsewhere in the heart of Chinatown and 60-70 people use the facility every day. My administration, working with the City Council, acquired a warehouse in Iwilei and will convert the first floor into a comprehensive drop-in hygiene center with bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities and provide services and permanent supportive housing on the floors above. We’ve acquired properties from Makiki to Makaha to house those in need. Hale Mauliola, the state’s first Housing Navigation center, reached full capacity and has placed 65 people into permanent housing since opening its doors last November.”

Still, there were noticeable differences when people were asked which mayoral candidate will do the best job in addressing homelessness.

Djou weighs in

Former Congressman and City Councilman Charles Djou received the highest percent of responses — 36 percent — compared with Caldwell (30 percent) and former Mayor Peter Carlisle (17 percent).

Carlisle’s numbers were the same as the 17 percent of respondents who either do not know which candidate will do the best job with homelessness or refused to answer.

Contacted for comment for this story, poll participant Ed Hampton of Kakaako, who described his age as “in the 70s,” could not articulate Djou’s plan to address Oahu’s homeless. But Hampton contended Djou still is the best mayoral candidate to produce results.

Hampton lives in one of Kakaako’s expensive high-rises, where he sees homeless people out his window every day harassing people and defecating in public.

“We’re at ground zero,” Hampton said. “We’ve become a dumping ground. Tourists are constantly walking around this area, exposed to these people going to the bathroom in public sight. Kids in the park are running through this stuff. It’s not a healthy situation.”

Hampton said, “Caldwell’s not addressing homelessness. Ige hasn’t done anything, either.”

So Djou is the best mayoral candidate to deal with homelessness, in Hampton’s view, “because he has to,” adding, “I’m ready for a fresh face.”

Djou acknowledged that sentiment.

“I think it’s not me as much as it is a reaction,” he said. “Clearly, what the city is doing right now isn’t working, and the public is not satisfied with the administration’s response to homelessness.”

In general, Djou said, the city’s bureaucracy is too cumbersome to quickly and effectively deal with the complex issues associated with homelessness.

His preference is to deploy “better, greater, more resources directed to the nonprofit community rather than have this homeless problem tackled by the city bureaucracy.”

“I wish there was a magic bullet,” he said. “‘Do this one thing and homelessness would be fixed.’ There isn’t. It’s a very, very complex issue.”

20160718 Hawaii Poll Tables July 2016 – Homelessness by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

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  • djou, it takes money to solve the homeless problems, nonprofits don’t have that kind of money and or infrastructure. the city can work with nonprofits as they are doing now, but most of the funds comes from the state and city. nonprofits cannot provide transitional or permanent housing. so your idea is too ludicrous. hope you don’t become mayor.

    • I hope he does, because I’m sick of the taxpayers getting stuck with the bill.

      And it doesn’t just take money to solve the homeless problem, it takes homeless people who want to improve their lives. The non-profits and religious groups are doing more than enough….they feed, clothe and house those THAT ACCEPT their help.

      The actual problem are those who don’t accept the help, because “there are too many rules”. For those people, I say that the government show them some of our other rules and arrest them for trespassing, littering, defecating and urinating in public (and throw a sex assault 4 count too) and harassment when they start “in your face” begging. They should also bring back vagrancy laws.

  • Was this poll, like the rail poll, taken at the mayor’s office?

    Only a blind m0r0n would say that the problem has gotten better.

    Of course the local “newspaper” spins it like a top. I wonder where that hepatitis came from.

      • The reality is the homeless problem is worse. Try walk down Vineyard at Aala. I see the kids walk in the street to get around the tents all over the sidewalk. Caldwell is feeding SA plenty with all his ads (paid for by all the rail developers) so apparently they owe him.

        • Just Political cover for those LOSERS, Caldwell and Ige. Trying to win votes from the clueless Democratic voters. Look over the concrete barriers at Middle Street and you’ll see a whole village of USELESS, not Homeless people. Look down thru the trees at the Wahiawa offramp and you’ll see another village of Useless, again NOT Homeless scabs there too. Look behind of City Mill and Lowes Iwilei and you see structures that these useless scabs built out of scrap plywood and stolen pallets from nearby businesses. How about on Nimtiz Hwy right in front of the new PBS Production facility you’ll see them just inches from the roadway. These jokers seem to have Polled the STUPID. Hampton has it right Caldwell and Ige FAILED miserably.

        • You guys sound like Djou. Did nothing about the homeless problem while in office and is now complaining the problem hasen’t been completely solved after he left office.

        • you would walk over there?
          das where all da transvestites hang
          you think caldwell is soliciting their vote?

    • The poll included folks from Waipio Gentry and it has gotten better for them LOL. As for the rest of us who do not live in Waipio Gentry it has gotten worse…

      • There there little one, yes the mean pollster didn’t match your world view. poor baby. All this means is that a lot of people disagree with your perspective. So what.

        • Polls say whatever the people who pay for it wants it to say. Pollsters just provide raw data…the client can twist the results any way they want.

    • LoL! Gotta agree with kekela. All of a sudden in one day the public wants rail and the homeless issue has improved. Vote incumbent if you are senile and blind enough to believe this propaganda barrage.

    • Another horrible, misleading SA headline: “Homeless problem improves, poll finds”

      It’s a POLL of some people’s opinions, not actual news based on data. And the important number the SA hides in the middle of the article is that the homeless population increased by 37 since last year. Not a disaster, but certainly not an improvement, as the crooked SA wants us to believe.

      12 percent of respondents in the Hawaii Poll said the homeless problem has gotten better, compared with ONLY 4 percent who felt the same way in July 2015. Meanwhile, “only 47 percent of Hawaii Poll participants…believe the situation has gotten worse over the previous year.” NO, it should be written that “ONLY 12 percent of respondents say the homeless problem has gotten better.”

      I have a sickening suspicion that the SA will endorse Cladwell. Sad, sad, sad….

    • Headline: “Poll finds Honolulu more affordable city to live”
      Subhead: “Compared to 1981 at the height of post-war inflation”

      You can spin statistics anyway you want. S-A thinks this poll is a positive development. Read the data. Only 12% think the situation is better and 87% think it is worse or the same. See how it easy it is!

  • With the margin of error, nothing has changed. If you hide the homeless and people don’t see them, then they see an improvement. Sweep, sweep, sweep, nowhere to go.

  • Success with the homeless, is a matter of perspective.

    The reality is, observations of the homeless, by the general public, does not see improvements.

    The strengths of the government, should be articulated and clearly demonstrated (show the “we the people” the visible success).

  • Poorly written article. Homelessness has not gotten better. They just move to and from different neighborhoods. I’m in favor of helping those who are working hard and trying too improve their situation. The ones who choose to live on the streets, not seeking employment and don’t want to abide by the rules should be shipped off the islands or moved to a designated area.

    • I agree 100%!!! You can’t help people who don’t want to be helped. If people choose not to obey the same rules of society and community that the rest of us follow, then they should not allowed to be part of that community. I have no problem with paying taxes to help out those who are down on their luck and have great compassion for them, but not for the addicts and lazy freeloaders. We’re just enabling them!

      • Correct, while there are many that will go to housing there are countless many that do not want to it. When you read articles of those on the streets they even say they prefer to live on the streets what are you going to do? Granted it, there are those who are down and out who need help but there are those who don’t want the help. Where is all the money going towards the homeless? “Enabling” that’s basically what’s happening.

      • Increase funding for the the Hawaii foster care system and then remove all the kids from their homeless parents. That, in and of itself, should decrease the homeless population by 1/4. The homeless parents who want their kids back will be forced to rehab. Plus they will lose the welfare benefits for dependents. The parents that don’t want their kids back can keep on abusing drugs and the kids will be in a better place anyway. CPS, stop babying the homeless parents and put those children in an environment where they have a shot to live a meaningful life. More simply, do the job your state agency is charged with.

  • Homeless count is increasing but the problem is better? What kind of distorted poll is this. Must be election time is near and politicians are collecting on favorable legislation for supporters.

  • Pollsters should get their sorry butts down to Kakaako Park and the Gold Bond building. The homeless are all along Nimitz and under the viaduct. Law enforcement can do little. This is not improving and it is not going away.

  • The homeless problem has not gotten better. Due to the crackdown by the City and State the homeless have dispersed to different areas, making them less visible. I see more of them on the length of S. King Street where they were fewer before. Also some who used to squat along Kapalama Canal are now camped out near the intersection of Mookaula St and Waiakamilo in Kalihi near the Goodwill Thrift store and pretty much blocking the sidewalk. I am sure there are similar pockets of homeless all over.
    As they are more widely dispersed, it makes counting them much more difficult.

  • When a business improves you get more business. Sounds like we getting more homeless. I always say, “Be something, anything, just don’t be a good for nothing.” I know, I was almost homeless before and didn’t want my dad to see me as a good for nothing. His last words to me when I came here. “You’ll never make it boy.” Proved him wrong working a job 26 years never calling in sick a minute.

  • Just because you don’t see them does not mean they aren’t there. The homeless problem is worst than portrayed by the Dems. The same position is close your eyes and wish them away same as way we treat the terrorist threat to our state. Auwe!

  • Well…maybe when everyone realizes that there isn’t any real journalism anymore, just advertisement space sales and click bait for the internet masses, will we understand how everything works. Polls have been meaningless for awhile now since twenty-something internet savvy political advisers have learned in their intro to stats classes how to manipulate numbers. Don’t blame them at all though, they gotta figure out a way to pay for their million dollar condo, new Lexus, and bespoke thousand dollar a pair shoes!

  • Guess where the homeless are being housed now…in independent senior complexes!!!
    A small number of the renters actually pay the entire rent themselves, with no help from the government.
    We are the middle class who worked all of our lives but yet could not afford to purchase a house or condo.
    We do not qualify for Section 8.
    We are the seniors who was looking for a QUIET place to spend our retirement.
    We have noticed a sharp increase of drug users and the mentally ill in the building.
    Found out they were all homeless before being placed in here!
    We are afraid to walk out of our apartment!

  • It is the visible homeless, that I see. If perceptions count, I don’t perceive improvements or changes.

    The government is playing checkers. The homeless are playing chess.

    The homeless defend their mobile residences, from anyone who comes too near. That includes walking on the sidewalk, next to their mobile residences. Being challenged to fight, by the homeless mentally ill, has gotten some people to the boiling point. Beating an elected politician, highlighted one beating. There were many more.

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