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Thursday, June 30, 2016
Hawaii Homelessness Grows 4%—Mostly on Big Island, Kauai
By News Release @ 5:32 AM :: 6337 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Homelessness


News Release from Hawaii DHS, June 29, 2016 

Results from the 2016 Hawaii Statewide Homeless Point-In-Time (PIT) conducted on January 24, 2016 revealed the following information:

● 4% overall increase in the numbers of homeless individuals from 7,620 persons in 2015 to 7,921 persons in 2016.

● 3% decrease in the total number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless veterans statewide compared to 2015, with a 12% decrease on Oahu.

● 12% increase in the overall number of unsheltered individuals and families since 2015.

● 4.5% decrease in the overall number of sheltered individuals and families since 2015.

The 2016 Point-In-Time Count (PIT) represents the best available data to estimate one-day homeless prevalence for the State of Hawaii. The primary objective of the count is to obtain a reliable estimate of the sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families at a specific point in time. PIT data collection is an integral part of local and national planning and acts in support of policy and resource allocations. As count execution improves, the reporting more accurately reflects the actual state of homelessness during that point-in-time. The count is also an excellent opportunity to engage the general public, community leaders, and private businesses in statewide homeless initiatives.

Partners in Care (PIC) representing Oahu, and Bridging the Gap (BTG) representing Hawaii County, Maui County and Kauai County, are Hawaii’s Continua of Care (CoC.) A CoC is a local planning body designed to promote community wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness.

An analysis of unsheltered persons counted in 2016 found that a total of 860 persons, or 22% of the 2015 statewide total were also counted in the 2016 PIT. A review of homeless service utilization of all unsheltered persons revealed that slightly less than half (46%) had prior Hawaii HMIS records. There was a 4% overall increase in the numbers of homeless individuals from 2015 (7,620 persons) to 2016 (7,921 persons). However, the increase from 2015 to 2016 is significantly lower than the increase of 10% from 2014 to 2015 and 9% from 2013 to 2014.

Hawaii County- The total count increased by 12%. The sheltered total count increased by 23% compared to 2015, while the unsheltered increased by 10%. In 2016, three main factors contributed to this increase including: 1) There was unprecedented collaboration among those conducting the count which included service providers and non-service providers, volunteers and the County government that improved the Hawaii County PIT count process; 2) Continued growth of substandard housing (ie. living on family property in tents and makeshift structures with no running water and/or utility access) throughout the County and especially in the Hilo, Pahoa, Konawaena and Kealakehe regions; and 3) The inventory of transitional housing increased by 13 additional units with a maximum bed space of six (6) beds per unit.

Maui County- The total count registered a small nearly one percent increase since 2015. Maui County showed a 10% decrease in shelter count, and a 4% increase in unsheltered count. Efforts to transition individuals to permanent housing from shelters have increased.

Kauai County- The total count increased 30% since 2015. In 2016, there was unprecedented collaboration among those conducting the count which included service providers and non-service providers, volunteers and the County government that improved the Kauai PIT count process. The increase in the numbers of individuals counted on Kauai is due in large part to this increase in effort rather than an actual growth in the numbers.

Oahu- The total count registered a small nearly one percent increase. Unsheltered homelessness rose by 12% in Oahu. An exploratory analysis was performed comparing persons found in the 2016 PIT with those identified in the previous 2015 count. This subgroup is referred to as “Repeaters.” A total of 425 persons (22%) that were encountered during the 2016 count were also canvassed during the 2015 count. Significant variation in the percentage of repeaters was observed among the different areas. The analysis showed that areas 1 and 2, consisting of the urban Honolulu and Waikiki areas respectively, had the lowest rate of repeaters (14% each) while the Waianae Coast (Area 7) produced the highest rate of repeaters (38%).


Chronic Homelessness

The total number of chronically homeless individuals and families increased by 27% in 2016 with 1,949 persons in chronically homeless households, compared to 2015 with 1,534 in chronically homeless households. “Chronically homeless” is defined by 24 CFR Parts 91 and 570 of the Consolidated Plan Revisions and Updates; Final Rule as living in a place not meant for human habitation, in a safe haven or in an emergency shelter; can be diagnosed with a one or more conditions including substance abuse disorder, serious mental illness, or chronic physical illness or disability; and living as described above continuously for at least 12 months, or on at least four separate occasions in the last 3 years, where the combined occasions total a length of time of at least 12 months. Each period separating the occasions must include at least 7 nights of living in a situation other than a place not meant for human habitation, in an emergency shelter, or in a safe haven.


On Oahu overall veteran homelessness declined 12% compared to 2015 - sheltered veterans declined 7% over 2015, while the 2016 unsheltered veteran estimate decreased 17%. This was a bright spot in the 2016 data and is reflective of the synergy between veteran service providers, the VA and overall veteran prioritization by the Continuum and national funding initiatives.

● Oahu has a much higher proportion of sheltered veteran homelessness than the neighbor islands, which is also reflected in the number of resources available.

● Neighbor Island Counties - continue to have a much higher proportion of unsheltered veteran homelessness than Oahu and a nearly 5:1 ratio of unsheltered to sheltered homeless veterans. Again this is reflective of the resources available on the neighbor islands as compared to Oahu.


HOUSING FOCUSED (1) COORDINATED ENTRY SYSTEM - Coordinated entry processes help communities prioritize assistance based on vulnerability and severity of service needs to ensure that people who need assistance the most can receive it in a timely manner.

EXPAND SHORT, MEDIUM AND LONG TERM RAPID RE-HOUSING PROGRAMS - According to the National Low Income and Housing Coalition, “Out of Reach 2016” study, Hawaii has the highest housing wage in the country where residents must earn $34.22/hour to afford a two bedroom unit.

INCREASE PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROGRAMS - For chronically homeless individuals (those with a disability and long history of homelessness), stable housing and supportive services is the foundation for stability.

BUILD AND ACQUIRE AFFORDABLE HOUSING - Hawaii can dedicate itself to increasing the supply of housing and creating new housing opportunities.

Read: News Release

Read: Full Report -- State of Hawaii Homeless Point-in-Time Count January 24, 2016

(1) Housing Focused is an approach or philosophy and encompasses the Housing First program model



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