The Homelessness Crisis Continues

Homelessness has become a rapid growing problem in Hawaii.  With 487 homeless per 100,000 people we retain the highest rate per capita in the nation, and bills like “Sit and Lie” have done nothing but drive the rate up higher and move populations around the island.

In fact from 2014 through 2015, time after the bill was enacted, the rate of homelessness increased by 46 percent.  According to The Economist measures like this end up resulting in more jail time for those breaking the law, which causes a drain on city & county funding and leaves the offender straddled with more debt and further away from being financially capable of obtaining an affordable living solution.

Many cite the low wages and high cost of housing for the growing crisis, and while many factors contribute, one thing for sure is that we need to address it.

We are lucky that at the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board, which occurs every 3rd Thursday of the month at Ben Parker Elementary, we have IHS giving a monthly report on the larger outreach they have started enacting this year on the Windward side.

This last month they reported that they did a homeless fair at Kaneohe Community Park where they were able to help a large amout of people.  They stated they were touched at the homeless residents that showed up early to help them set up and stayed after helping them clean, showing that our sense of aloha extends throughout out our great community.

IHS has been wanting to have a monthly homeless fair in order to continue to try to provide resources and help people have a pathway into getting out of their homelessness.  Unfortunately the Department of Park and Recreation does not want them to have the fair in the same location every month making it hard to get the information to the homeless community on where one will be each month.

Community members voiced their opinion, majority in support of the fair occurring in the same location.  If you have a thought you would like to contribute come to our next meeting and get the most up to date information on this pressing issue and lend your voice to help us better our community.