Due to COVID-19 concerns, Hawaii will sit out this year’s census of the unsheltered homeless population, conducted as part of the national Point in Time Count. However, while the size of the population will remain open to question, what’s certain is an expectation that when the state lifts its moratorium on tenant eviction — in place for 10 months now — homelessness will rise dramatically.
Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator, last week said the increase will likely top that following the 2008 Great Recession, during which a 37% climb stretched over several years. On the bright side, even amid the pandemic, the state is making ongoing progress in finding transitory and permanent housing for the unsheltered.
Sticking with city’s tier system
Honolulu’s new mayor, Rick Blangiardi, put out a positive message last week about managing COVID-19: The city is sticking with the tier system, but he expressed no interest in reacting too quickly to return to Tier 1. The vaccine provides another way out, he said.
The vaccine is a reason to be hopeful — as long as that’s accompanied by advocacy for continued vigilance. And don’t put away those masks, Oahu: We’re going to be needing extra guardrails for some months to come — or even longer.