Maui News

Maui Homeless Count Down 2.6% to 873 Individuals

May 8, 2018, 12:04 PM HST
* Updated May 8, 12:09 PM
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Maui’s homeless population has decreased 2.6% since last year with a total of 873 homeless individuals tallied on Maui. The information was compiled in the annual Hawaiʻi Statewide Point in Time Count survey, with Maui recording the smallest change over the year.

Kauaʻi, meantime, had the greatest decrease in homeless individuals with a nearly 29% drop, followed by Oʻahu at 9.4% and Hawaiʻi Island at 8.8%.

According to the survey, the data marks the second consecutive year of declining homeless numbers in the state; and the first time since 2009 that O‘ahu’s homeless population declined.

The annual Point in Time count — a census of people experiencing homelessness — showed a nearly 10% overall decrease in the number of homeless individuals across the state compared with the same period last year.

The 2018 count found 6,530 homeless individuals across Hawai‘i compared with 7,220 in 2017. On O‘ahu, the 2018 count found 4,495 homeless individuals compared with 4,959 in 2017.

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“This validates that our comprehensive program for reducing homelessness is working. Our focus on Housing First, putting homeless individuals in permanent housing and offering services, is decreasing homelessness across the board,” Gov. Ige said. “Collaborating with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and our mayors across the state, and coordinating county, state and federal programs have resulted in drops in homelessness the last two years. We stayed the course and gave our programs time to build momentum, and we are now seeing the results.”

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“This report shows that the gains we made last year are continuing to solidify, and that the tide is definitely starting to turn on homelessness in Hawaii,” said Brandee Menino, Chair of Bridging the Gap and CEO of Hope Services Hawaii Inc. Bridging the Gap represents all neighbor islands. “This is a continuing trend, not a one-time thing.”

“However, our efforts to end homelessness are far from over,” Menino said. “We need to maintain our commitment to reducing homelessness by continuing to invest in programs that work and build housing that is truly affordable.”

This year’s Point in Time Count was conducted during the week of January 22, 2018, and included an estimated 600 volunteers statewide.

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“In the last few years, our homelessness service providers have made tremendous strides in using data and evidence-based practices to address homelessness,” said Heather Lusk, the Vice Chair of Partners in Care and Executive Director of the Life Foundation and CHOW Project. “We know the Point in Time Count doesn’t give us an exact number of the number of people who are currently homeless, but this is an indicator that we are gaining momentum. For the sake of the individuals and families affected by homelessness, and our broader community, we need to continue to quicken our pace in building upon the foundation we’ve laid.”

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