Drop in Oahu’s homeless population was less than preliminary figures indicated | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Drop in Oahu’s homeless population was less than preliminary figures indicated

  • Video by Craig T. Kojima / ckojima@staradvertiser.com

    Partners in Care released new data Wednesday showing a drop in Oahu's homeless population in January.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Partners in Care released the remainder of Oahu homeless count, today, from January. Aurelius Warren, a Vietnam veteran, who was homeless, told his story.

  • DENNIS ODA / JULY 19, 2018

    Tourists walk on the street near Mother Waldron Park in Kakaako to avoid homeless campers on the sidewalk in July. Updated numbers from January’s Point in Time Count shows that the overall number of homeless fell just 1% on Oahu. The number of unsheltered homeless people, meanwhile, rose 12% in Honolulu.

Oahu saw only a 1% drop in homelessness in January — not the 4% decline initially reported in February, according to data released today.

The new data means that Oahu’s homeless population dropped from 4,495 people in January 2018 to 4,453 this year during the annual nationwide homeless census called the Point in Time Count.

Combined with a 2% decline in homelessness overall across the neighbor islands, the updated Oahu numbers mean that Hawaii saw an overall 1 percent decline in homelessness in January, according to Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator.

The latest numbers for Oahu were the result of updated data from homeless shelters, according to Heather Lusk, vice chairwoman of Partners In Care, which conducts the annual Point in Time Count for Oahu.

The 12% increase in Oahu’s “unsheltered” homeless population reported by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in February remains the same — meaning the number of unsheltered homeless people jumped to 2,052 in 2019 from 2,350 in 2018.

In February, the then-head of Partners in Care, Sam Millington, provided the Star-Advertiser with preliminary Point in Time Count data for Oahu that showed a 4% decrease. Millington then abruptly resigned and moved back to Maui.

Lusk said today that a replacement has been selected for Millington and an announcement will be forthcoming.

Lusk announced the updated numbers today inside the city’s new 4-story Punawai Rest Stop in Iwilei, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, according to Marc Alexander, director of the city’s Office of Housing.

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