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Annual Homelessness Survey Results Released

Staff of HHHRC perform surveys of people experiencing houselessness residing in Kaka'ako

On May 11, Partners in Care (PIC), a planning, coordinating, and advocacy alliance that develops recommendations for programs and services to fill needs within Oʻahu’s Continuum of Care for homeless persons, released the annual Point In Time survey during a public webinar.

Attendees included state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, state Reps. Jenna Takenouchi and Cory Chun, and many homelessness service providers.

HHHRC Executive Director Heather Lusk, who serves as PIC Board Chair, presented the survey findings with Dr. Anna Pruitt of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and PIC Executive Director Laura Thielen.

“While Oʻahu has not seen a surge of homelessness numbers compared with other metropolitan areas on the continent, homelessness remains an urgent and visible matter of public concern. This data is invaluable for assessing the needs of those experiencing homelessness and developing targeted policies to address those needs. For example, we’ve seen great progress in recent years with housing our veterans,” said Lusk.

“Expanding access to government-supported housing stock, including permanent supportive housing units, can help ensure sustained access to behavioral health services and medical care for chronic conditions,” she added.

Lusk was quoted in a Honolulu Civil Beat story noting a sizeable increase in the number of seniors among the unsheltered population of people experiencing homelessness.

HHHRC provides homelessness services in Regions 1 (Downtown Honolulu, Kalihi, Nuʻuanu) and 6 (Upper Windward Coast).

Among the report’s findings:

· The overall count tallied 4,028 people experiencing homelessness in January, with 59% of the population unsheltered and 41% accessing shelters. The 2023 count is up slightly from last year’s tally of 3,951 but down from a peak of 4,959 in 2017.

· Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander residents, who are 10% of Oʻahu’s population, were 35% of the overall survey’s respondents.

· Among the unsheltered homeless, 73% were homeless for one year or more, 61% reported one or more disabling conditions, 36% reported a mental illness, 25% were survivors of domestic violence, and 44% were children or seniors (21% and 23%, respectively).

· Sub-populations that have seen significant decreases in homelessness since 2015 include veterans (52%), children (58%), and households with adults and children (60%).

· The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires the survey to identify the extent of homelessness across the nation and identify the needs and characteristics of individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

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