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Hawai‘i County has Largest Homeless Decline in State, 32%

May 10, 2017, 1:17 PM HST
* Updated May 10, 1:21 PM
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The state Department of Human Services released its annual Point-in-Time count results on Homelessness for 2017 today, noting a 9% statewide drop in homelessness. The drop represents the first statewide drop in eight years.

The 2017 count found 7,220 homeless individuals across Hawai‘i compared to 7,921 in 2016.

Hawai‘i County saw the largest decrease at 32%, Maui County saw a 22% decline and Kaua‘i County a 7% drop compared to 2016. O‘ahu saw an increase of less than a half percent in the number homeless individuals.

In 2017, there were 953 homeless individuals in Hawai‘i County, a decrease of 441 individuals (32% drop) from 2016.

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According to last year’s report, there were an estimated 1,394 homeless individuals on Big Island.

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“We have partnered with every mayor in every county, along with the private sector and service providers. We’ve had housing summits to identify the benefits of renting to the homeless. We have service providers to provide supportive care so that we can place families in permanent housing. It’s terrific news that homelessness is down 32% on Hawai‘i Island,” Gov. Ige said.

Officials say that the 2017 count decrease was fueled by a 12% decrease in unsheltered homelessness to 3,800 persons compared to 4,308 in 2016. Unsheltered homelessness declined on all three rural counties led by Hawai‘i (40%), Maui (24%), and Kaua‘i (15%). The percent of homeless persons found to be unsheltered continued its pattern of growth on O‘ahu, with 61% of the state’s total unsheltered homeless.

“We have been working very hard to get federal, state and county officials and service providers to really work together to reduce homelessness all across the state,” said Gov. David Ige.

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“Certainly we are beginning to get traction in the many programs that we have. As you know, we’ve restructured all of the contracts to the service providers and really focused on placement into permanent housing, which we know is what works,” said Gov. Ige.

In addressing challenges on Oʻahu, Gov. Ige said, “I think it really is about continuing to work with our partners. We have engaged the private sector. The project at the paintball site is a good example of the city, state and private sector working together to create permanent housing in our communities.”

To view the full report, click here.

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