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Covering the crisis

Homeless in Hawaii


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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                                Misty Kelai, executive director of the Office of Culture and the Arts, performed a blessing Tuesday during a ceremony to celebrate the completion of 21 studio apartments at Punawai Rest Stop, a homeless care facility in Kalihi, with the first permanent residents expected to move in by the end of the month.
Homeless project to welcome new residents

The first occupants will move into the city’s new Punawai Rest Stop studio apartments in Iwilei around Thanksgiving, months ahead of schedule, offering outgoing Mayor Kirk Caldwell and outgoing City Councilman Joey Manahan an opportunity to bookend their five-year-long partnership to reduce homelessness. Read more

                                Harish Rao and his friend Jay brought chairs for their wait in line to vote at Honolulu Hale on Tuesday.
Long Election Day voter lines lead to complaints

Honolulu election officials said they anticipated more Oahu residents would show up on Election Day to vote at one of the two designated voter services centers on the island, just not 4,520 of them during that 12-hour span. Read more

                                Pedestrians walking along N. King Street.
64% polled say Chinatown still feels safe

Honolulu’s original neighborhood — the 52.2-acre parcel of land known as Chinatown — still feels “safe” to 64% of registered voters despite complaints about homelessness, crime and concerns early this year that it could be the source of COVID-19. Read more

                                <strong>“Whether they’re homeless or not, each person counts for $2,500 a year, so it’s important. It’s really important to get an accurate count.”</strong>
                                <strong>Marc Alexander</strong>
                                <em>Executive director, city Office of Housing</em>
Federal census of isle homeless is rescheduled for September

The once-every-decade federal census of Hawaii’s homeless population — which has been pushed to late September because of the COVID-19 pandemic — has the potential to affect Hawaii’s share of $800 billion in federal spending over the next 10 years, according to federal officials. Read more

                                State homeless coordinator Scott Morishige spoke to homeless people living next to Waimalu Stream during the Point in Time count in January. This year 1,074 of the people identified as homeless on Oahu were counted through observation rather than via interview, a technique used in some mainland cities.
Hawaii sees slight uptick in homeless population

Hawaii lost its ignoble distinction last year of having the highest per capita rate of homelessness in America, but Oahu’s homeless count increased by 0.7 percent during the nation’s latest annual homeless census, while the neighbor islands saw a similar 1% increase. Read more

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