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Working to help get Hawaii's homeless off the streets - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Working to help get Hawaii's homeless off the streets

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Two completely different homeless initiatives: One celebrates success, while the other faces some flaws.

First, a network of local organizations is celebrating its success in moving homeless off the streets and into permanent housing, faster. Three years ago, the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) joined forces with a group of funders and non-profits to create the Housing ASAP program.

"Since we started this initiative in 2014 we have seen 714 families move into permanent housing," HCF's Vice President for Strategies, Initiatives and Networks, Chris Van Bergeijk said. 

According to HCF, 12 funders provided $4 million to assist non-profit organizations involved in the program, with coaching and technical assistance, resources, and grant opportunities.

This year Hawaii's point-in-time count found that state's population of homeless families decreased by 17 percent, when compared to 2016.

"The scale of the problem across the state is not something that any one foundation, any one funder, or any one shelter is going to make a dent. So it was really important that we brought everyone together," Van Bergeijk said. 

And while the Housing ASAP network is celebrating its success, at the same time there is criticism of completely separate homeless initiatives that the City and County of Honolulu is in charge of. City auditor, Edwin Young released a report earlier this week that highlights the flaws in three of the city's programs. 

The report points out that while two of the three homeless programs, Housing First and the Community Assistance Program, have been successful and exceeded the number of people they expected to serve-- the other program, Hale Mauliola did not.

Also mentioned in the audit are lack of policies, procedures, sufficient resources, and administrative support. Young highlights the city's need to better coordinate with the state, and develop a comprehensive homeless plan with measurable goals and benchmarks. 

"The city is making progress and I think what we're trying to do is make suggestions for improving their efforts and address the challenges that lie ahead and that they've made in the past," Young said. 

To read the full City Auditor Report, click here

To learn more about HCF's Housing ASAP program, click here.

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