“Homeless Awareness Week” in Honolulu
According to the most recent 2013 Homeless Service Utilization Report, there has been a decrease in the number of homeless individuals who are accessing homeless services. Despite the decrease, individuals from agencies who serve the homeless or advocates for homeless services say that more needs to be done in the arena of substantially improving the availability of affordable housing to these individuals and families. The 2013 State of Hawai’i Homeless Awareness Conference was held on November 12, 2013, at the Pacific Beach Hotel, in order to highlight the State’s efforts, along with local agencies, in finding solutions to the homeless situation in Hawai’i. Experts at the Homeless Awareness Conference agree that the numbers from the most recent report may raise more concerns, since 40% of homeless who were helped at shelters this year have never gone to one before. Most suspect that the utilization numbers are much higher. U.S.VETS Chief Operating Officer and Partners-in-Care (PIC) Chairman, Darryl Vincent, commented on this concern saying, “When there’s someone new, how long have they been in the islands really? Have they been here for a year or two and they just haven’t been counted to now? Did they fall into homelessness? Did they come from another place?” U.S.VETS is behind the state’s initiative to house chronically homeless first then offer them services, and is working to ensure it is doing its part in working with other providers to find solutions to serving the homeless population.
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