The number of people who were homeless on the neighbor islands in January decreased 2% from the year before — meaning there were 1,995 homeless people on the neighbor islands compared to 2,035 in January 2018, according to the latest data released today.
The neighbor islands combined saw large decreases in several homeless categories:
>> Family homelessness fell 18% — from 216 families in 2018 to 177 in January.
>> Veteran homelessness decreased by 3%, and youth homelessness dropped by 11%.
The numbers were mixed island by island.
Hawaii island had the largest overall decrease by far: 21%.
At the same time, Maui saw a 1% decrease while Kauai’s homeless population shot up by 51%.
Officials with Bridging the Gap, which oversees the annual neighbor island Point in Time Count, said the Garden Isle increase is due to “more oversight and planning, an increase in the number of volunteers, and improved execution of Kauai County’s Point in Time Count.”
On Hawaii island, “the substantial decrease was a surprise since last year’s natural disasters displaced more people than usual,” said Brandee Menino, chairwoman of Bridging the Gap.
During the January count, 67 people stated their homelessness was caused by natural disasters, according to Bridging the Gap.
Today’s announcement on Hawaii island of the neighbor island data follows February’s release of preliminary numbers for Oahu’s Point in Time Count.
The Oahu data showed a 12% increase in unsheltered homeless people while the overall numbers were down 4%.
The number of “unsheltered homeless” on Oahu increased to 2,401 in January from 2,145 a year earlier. At the same time, Oahu’s “sheltered homeless population” dropped to 1,910 this year from 2,350 in 2018.
When added together, there were 4,311 people living on the street or in shelters on Oahu — or 184 fewer than last year’s count.
The final data for Oahu’s Point in Time Count is expected to be released next month.
Hawaii currently has the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the nation. Federal officials are expected to make state-by-state comparisons later this year.