comscore Oahu homeless shelter closing in response to new state rules | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Oahu homeless shelter closing in response to new state rules


    The Lighthouse Outreach Center Homeless Shelter in Waipahu. The shelter is closing down because its operators say they will no longer be able to run the facility under new state rules that require shelters to have more space for residents.

An Oahu homeless shelter is closing down because its operators say they will no longer be able to run the facility under new state rules that require shelters to have more space for residents.

Waipahu Lighthouse Outreach Center housed about 75 people as of Thursday. Director William Hummel said the shelter is working to find residents a new place to stay now that the center is closing, Hawaii News Now reported.

Shelters were required to submit an operations plan last week that detailed how they would provide guests with more private space without added construction. Hummel said he didn’t submit a plan because the shelter wouldn’t be able to able to meet the requirements, which the Legislature passed this year.

“We didn’t apply because we don’t want to enter into a contract where we agree to do things we know can’t be done,” Hummel said.

Under the new rules, shelters will also lose funding if they don’t place residents into permanent housing within a certain period of time and aren’t at least at 80 percent capacity.

Hummel said the new requirements don’t make sense in a place like Hawaii, where Gov. David Ige declared the state’s homelessness crisis an emergency last year.

“There is no permanent housing. The outcome measures, the construction requirements, they’re all irrational. I don’t want to speak for other shelters but I don’t know how other shelters can do this,” Hummel said.

Scott Morishige, Ige’s homelessness coordinator, said the governor’s administration is taking the closure of the Waipahu center “very seriously.”

“We are committed to working together with Lighthouse to find permanent housing for individuals who are residing there,” Morshige said.

Comments (27)

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

  • Are you happy now, Mr. Governor? 75 more people to worry about. You declare homelessness an “emergency” and then throw more roadblocks in the face of those trying to alleviate the situation. Are the tents and street cardboard “shelters” any better than what is there now in this shelter? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    • The State could have easily turned schools that were closed for low enrollment into homeless shelters (they already had cafeterias, bathrooms, infrastructure, etc.). But no, the State decided that we needed even more fancy offices for DOE executives. This backwards State doesn’t know what it’s doing, in pretty much everything. We only survive because we have beaches and the military. When global warming takes away our beaches (and exponentially increases the number of homeless fleeing low-laying islands and atolls in Micronesia), we’re doomed.

        • Pirate – the school in Aina Haina valley – it’s been vacant for years. There’s an apartment building in Sale Lake that’s been vacant for years as well. I think the state needed to upgrade some stuff to meet certain standards. Here’s the issue: If it were a private entity that ran that particular apartment building the fixes would have been years ago and the building would be in use. When it comes to the state, the fix takes years and years to do. Why? In the meantime…

        • Not all schools hon. East side schools have far fewer students than west side schools. Check the empty halls of kalani and Kaimuki

    • agree..the State should have given them a year to get their plan in order and funded. Why put the “guests” on the street? Makes no sense. This seems like a decent organization. No brainer to keep all available space open./

  • “shelters lose funding if they can’t place homeless into permanent housing” Makes total sense that it’s the shelters job to find permanent housing for substance abusers and homeless-by-choice individuals.

    • If the shelters cannot find permanent housing for substance abusers and homeless by choice individuals then maybe these shelters are catering to the wrong clientele. These shelters are meant for temporary and not permanent housing and should be for those who are trying to better themselves. If your clientele has no ambition in bettering themselves, then you shouldn’t be catering to them. Unless we want to continue funding these failing shelters that aren’t helping those who are seriously trying to get on their own feet, then we shouldn’t grumble about our homeless situation and the money being spent to hopefully fix the situation.

  • Whose idea was this? Make up your mind. Either you want to have viable solutions to our homeless problem or you don’t. If you do, stop making more hoops for providers to jump thru; stop allowing the building of “affordable” housing that only those looking for a second vacation home can afford. Pick one.

  • One Ala Moana, a myriad of units in the Ala Moana/Kakaako area that we can be pretty sure are unoccupied…can start a Homeless AirBnB of sorts where millionaires can house a homeless family during the “off season” when they are in Europe or Asia, and when they return to vacation in the Hawaiian sun, the family moves to a shelter…what do you all think?

  • Well, we can’t blame Republicans for running our incompetent state government here – There aren’t any. Now if this particular bozo gets reelected then there’s a serious problem with our population.

  • Weinberg shelters on Maui, have drug testing. People can stay up to 5 weeks. They can stay during the day but need to look for work. They have classes on money management etc… The when they find work, they can rent the apartments next to shelter for low fee.

  • Here’s another prime example of STUPID INADEQUATE LEADERSHIP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Another volunteer shelter closed because of stupid rules made by people who have no idea what the homeless need. And because of your stellar leadership they are now closed.

    Now what? I am fed up with this State’s inability to do anything good, you are more worried about people using biodegradable soap at the beach park showers, smoking at a State park. Get your heads out of your ass and do something to help those that really need help.

  • not entirely the state’s fault. the federal government (obama) cut h.u.d. funds severely for the homeless across the nation using a template scoring homeless shelters moving people into temporary and permanent housing. hawaii, with its moderate weather, scored high with increasing numbers of chronic homeless and saw its funding cut as a result.

    as a result of federal funding cuts that helped support homeless programs in hawaii, the state had no choice but to visit rules for homeless grants and many programs were cut or eliminated.

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

Scroll Up