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Covering the crisis

Homeless in Hawaii

TO OUR READERS

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now are joining forces to report on the ever-worsening homelessness crisis.

While both news organizations will continue to report daily stories on homelessness, we will work together on bigger projects that delve into all aspects of the issue. To reach the widest possible audience for these important projects on this crisis, you will see reports in print, online and on broadcasts.

For example, on this page of the Star-Advertiser and in Hawaii News Now broadcasts on Monday, you will find stories on homeless encampments you might not be aware of and learn details about some of them.

Through stories such as these, we hope to raise awareness among the public — and public officials — about the gravity of the situation and the need to take action to help the homeless and, by doing so, help our community.

Both newsrooms hope you, as readers and viewers, will help with this project by offering comments, observations and suggestions online and in letters to the editor. While a collaboration between two competing newsrooms is unusual, Hawaii’s homelessness crisis requires an unusual approach.

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CRAIG T. KOJIMA / 2019
                                Lt. Gov. Josh Green explains homeless projects he has planned. Green’s dream of a statewide system of “kauhale” tiny homes to provide permanent housing for Hawaii’s homeless suffered a setback Tuesday.
‘Kauhale’ housing for homeless suffers setback

Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s dream of a statewide system of “kauhale” tiny homes to provide permanent housing for Hawaii’s homeless suffered a setback Tuesday when two House committees voted to study the concept rather than move out a bill that would have provided $20 million for a one-year pilot program. Read more

CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                State homeless coordinator Scott Morishige, far left, checked the bridge over Waimalu Stream on Thursday where several homeless people were sleeping as his associate, Emma Grochowsky, left, interviewed Faavae Ulugia, who said he‘d been living under the bridge for six months.
Nearly 7,000 became homeless in 2019 on Oahu

Oahu was overwhelmed with 6,924 people who became newly homeless in 2019. That number erased the 616 homeless people per month, on average, who were placed into “permanent housing” across all islands. Read more

JAMM AQUINO/JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM 
                                A homeless encampment on Dillingham Boulevard seen on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Homeless outreach court makes progress, but funding needed

In its first two years of existence, Oahu’s Community Outreach Court that addresses minor, nonviolent crimes committed by homeless “participants” “has made significant progress,” Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald wrote in a report to the state Legislature. Read more

DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                A homeless woman got drenched by the heavy rain in Kaimuki last week.
More officials express their disappointment in Hawaii homeless sweeps

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i and a host of other homeless advocates again are asking the city to stop clearing the homeless off Oahu sidewalks during the holiday season and again are being rebuffed by officials who insist that Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s “compassionate disruption” policy is best for the public and those being removed. Read more

DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                A news conference Wednesday on the lawn next to the Honolulu Police Department headquarters showcased an inflatable temporary shelter intended for the homeless. The conference provided an equipment preview for the Project Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons. A prayer is said in front of the newly inflated homeless shelter.
Inflatable structures unveiled to handle homelessness issues

Hawaii’s newest idea to reduce homelessness by quickly inflating portable structures to triage homeless people’s issues went up to applause on the lawn next to the Honolulu Police Department Wednesday before it moves to Waipahu Culture Garden Park Friday night for no longer than 90 days. Read more

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