comscore Federal report says number of homeless increased in Hawaii | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Federal report says number of homeless increased in Hawaii

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / JAN. 26, 2016

    Paul Vollstedt, an Institute for Human Services volunteer, talks with a “Tony,” during the Point in Time count of the homeless in Hawaii at Sand Island on Jan. 26.

Hawaii saw its homeless population grow another 4 percent from 2015, federal officials announced today, making the islands only one of 14 states and territories — and Washington, D.C. — that saw their homeless numbers grow.

Collectively, homelessness across the country fell for the seventh consecutive year, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Matthew Doherty told reporters on a conference call today.

But while Guam saw a staggering 15.2 percent decrease and states such as North Dakota fell 29.3 percent, the 7,921 homeless people counted in January across the islands represented another year when the number of people living without a permanent home has increased.

Since 2010, when President Barack Obama launched the first federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, Hawaii’s homeless population has jumped 35.8 percent, according to data released today.

Hawaii ranked worst in per capita homelessness in 2015, but federal officials today did not immediately have data comparing states, territories and the District of Columbia per capita and discouraged such comparisons, especially for a small island state such as Hawaii.

While Hawaii’s homeless population jumped 4 percent between January 2015 and January 2016, Washington, D.C. led the nation with a 14.4 percent increase in its homeless population, followed by Indiana (14.3 percent); Oklahoma (8.7 percent); Wyoming (7.4 percent); and Washington (7.4 percent).

Castro and Doherty told reporters today that they hoped President-elect Donald Trump’s administration builds on the efforts of the Obama administration to address homelessness across the country and U.S. territories.

“This new administration ought to understand it’s responsibility in continuing to lead” on the issue of homelessness, Castro said.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (52)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

      • …and with a totally Democrat government the “Homeless Open” sign is out and very bright. With an impotent governor and mayor, we’re ripe for the pickings, and everyone on the mainland knows it.

      • God said to feed the needy. That was when there were no jobs and people were starving to death. God also said, you sleep and lay around and do nothing you will be in poverty. God doesn’t like people to be lazy and lay around doing nothing when there are so many jobs out there if people just got off their lazy okole and get one.

  • Great. We are a “sanctuary city” for the homeless. Come to Honolulu with your mental health issues and your drug addictions. Sleep, eat and defecate
    on our streets. Our liberal lawmakers make it easy for you, and the ACLU will fight for your rights to be bums while trampling on our rights to have a safe clean fun city.

    • Who was the Mayor that allowed this homeless issue get out of control?? I hope the good citizens of Hawaii voted for the right person to fix this problem. I’m sure the good citizens of Hawaii aren’t that stupid to vote for the same guy that allowed this to happen.

    • They don’t like the outer Islands, locals chase them off the beach, when they go into the mountains, they disappear….. nobody checks, seen Hana side, you fall off, nobody going know. Go fishing and you not from there, fall in the ocean, nobody going know. No feds , no state, and no county to go probing .

    • sad but true and I am sure the word has gone out – one way ticket to Hawaii 🙁

      Hawaii should start drug testing for benefits like some of the other states, maybe proof of residency, something to stop the influx.

  • This report just confirms what we already know and have observed. Meanwhile high end condos continue to be built but nothing in terms of low income housing and rents for
    available housing continue to climb. I do not see anything the Feds, State of City are doing that will change the way things are going.
    The homeless problem will continue to worsen and people will get more and more desperate as Capt Kirk continues his policy of “compassionate disruption”.
    Personally I do not think our Mayor has any real compassion toward the many here who are struggling whether homeless or just a few paychecks away from becoming homeless.
    He lives in a mansion and he and his wife live very well indeed. He and others like him live in a bubble, well insulated from the reality of what it is like to be a working person here
    in Paradise. Kind of like the old plantation days coming back again.

    • You are probably right. Utah may not be the best place to be homeless come winter time but ironically it may be a good place for the average person on Oahu to move to.
      Utah has a low crime rate, low cost of living and good medical facilities and a favorable tax climate and an increasingly diverse population.
      Places to avoid moving to would be California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona.

      • You might be interested to see how Utah has addressed their homeless population and have actually reduced it. They are one of the few places in the US having some success. (I lived in Utah for 9 years. I’ll never live there again but there are some things that they do very well.)

    • Donʻt forget that phony Tulsi – architect of the stupid sit/lie ban thatʻs chasing people around, treating the poor, kids, and elderly like animals, wasting copsʻ and courtsʻ time. Sheʻs the real star here – maybe not the way sheʻs used to…lol

  • We can thank our over paid politicians and civil servants for this mess we are in. Sadly Hawaii is becoming a place for the rich and mainland transplants to enjoy their luxurious homes and condos. Those who are actually from here have been suffering way too long by the ever increasing cost of living and excise tax pyramiding effect.

  • There is no immediate solution to the problem. Maybe they should start deporting some or most of these people back to where they came from. Put them all on a boat and sail away.

      • The TV documentary on Hawaii’s homeless was good, but perhaps did not give a complete picture. For example, last Sunday morning I asked the ABC store on Paoakalani Ave. to call the police because a seemingly “homeless” man in a wheel chair took off his sweatshirt and was naked. He had “wet himself” then stood up and placed the dripping cushion on top of his head. Then he proceeded to “touch himself” (my apologies for being so graphic). Keep in mind tourists with children had to cross the street to avoid the situation. The police arrived in about 10 minutes and pulled him aside. They said the plan was to “clean him up, find some pants”, etc.). Sunday evening, I passed the SAME man, in the same wheel chair (with no cushion but the seat was wet), with a different set of police officers. What this man was doing is not legal. The so-called “homeless” must be broken down into a few basic categories. This individual has an obvious mental and /or substance problem and should be forced into treatment. Groups such as the ACLU cannot defend the right of an individual to break laws. I can’t imagine what the actual cost was for four officers to spend so much time with the same individual in one day. The “system” is not helping this unfortunate individual, in fact, it’s doing more harm than good. By the way, the police did an excellent job in handling a very difficult situation.

        • This poor man is mentally ill and needs community based health services, not a police record and your harsh judgment.

        • IRT TheFarm: Sorry if I didn’t make myself clear. My harsh judgment is not toward the individual; I feel very sorry for the man. Nobody deserves the way he is living. I’m upset with watching the local government not handling the situation. And the police report is probably required to justify forcing treatment. When a person is naked doing some obscene gestures in public, you don’t give him a pass because he’s potentially mentally ill or on substance or alcohol. The police interaction is required for safety reasons and to document a person’s illegal actions so to prevent groups like the ACLU from saying the police violated the patient’s rights. I agree with you wholeheartedly that he needs community based health services. The question is, why isn’t he receiving the proper help? Apparently nobody wants to make the “harsh judgment” you reference, but somebody must. The problem isn’t going to correct itself.

        • I believe the problem began with ronald reagan’s policies toward institutionalizing the mentally ill. When he was governor of California, he got laws passed making it illegal to involuntarily hospitalize the mentally ill. He did this at the federal level also, when he became president. The only exceptions are when the person is a danger to himself or others, which must be determined by a court. Reagan also cut funding for community mental health centers, which left many mentally ill without treatment. This was the beginning of mentally ill on the streets, and laws toward involuntary hospitalization have never changed.

  • Thanks to the “D” in the square building on Beretania for all those handouts. Now they are solely ruled by “D.” We are definitely in trouble. Now without a two party system everything will be passed without opposition.

      • It actually happened in the past. I worked at the Queen’s Psych Ward (Kekela) in the early 90’s and much of the population were from cities that were trying to decrease their homeless and mentally ill population by giving them a one way ticket to Honolulu. Out of their hands and in to ours…

      • Really. Tired old canard. If you could just hypothetically accept (the truth) that 85% of our homeless have lived here 5 years or more, are mostly working homeless unable to afford housing, that 25% are Native Hawaiian and 25% are children, that over 40% have mental health issues…if you could no longer sit in your privilege and assume itʻs all “lazy mainland transplants” – would that somehow change your thinking? Or would you just change your chant to “lazy kids, lazy Hawaiians, lazy veterans, lazy old people, lazy mentally ill people?” The (completely debunked) transplant idea as a reason we should not help people…thatʻs offensive, and a detour from any thinking that can actually help. Who cares where you come from? Weʻre all from somewhere.

        • Sorry, I think you misunderstood my response. I was sharing my experience from the past. That’s all. I know that the homelessness issue is far more complex now than it was back in the early 90’s.

        • Hey yogaman I probably sent a bunch your way from Waikiki. Sister use work emergency room, would call in advance to tell her she was getting a special package. Did something when I made Lt. In Chinatown. Was great, did not have to arrest as and tie my guys up with useless paper work.

        • TheFarm: Mainland thinking is 5-7 years makes you a lifelong resident, what I am hearing is that Hawaii has been supporting 85% of imports.

      • Dad, some off it was occurring, not now though. Attended some joint training with LAPD guys in the 80s and 90s, cops would use outreach services to buy the tickets. Confirmed when they asked me about a person that would sell shoes door to door. Guy was doing it in Kahala… he was black and came from New York… gift from NYPD to LAPD. Then we got him. SA did an article on him back in 90s….was putting all his shoe catalogs on a fence on Kapiolani, vacant lot. Kinda funny then.

      • No, it was a fact!

        New York City, Baton Rouge and San Francisco have all tried similar programs. New York City implemented its version in 2007, flying more than 550 homeless people back to their families in places like Paris, Orlando, and San Juan (the most popular destination), according to a 2009 article in the New York Times. Trust me, I bet there were a handful of bums falsely claiming they had family in Oahu so they got one way tickets to paradise!

  • Ship them to American Samoa…..they will still get their bennies from the USA…i.e.:Social Security, TDI temporary disability insurance, WIC and the list goes on…….

  • Wish I had an easy answer to solve the Homeless problem here in Hawaii, but I don’t. Tired of hearing all the negativity the Homeless situation has brought upon our beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Somehow I truly believe there is a solution but it won’t happen overnight. Hope our government leaders can start enforcing the laws which each and everyone of us must abide to. Hope everyone can continue to donate food, clothing etc.. to help those who can’t provide for themselves. Anyway LIVE ALOHA and have a great holiday season.

Scroll Up