New Hawaii homeless count underway

Darlene Hein, Program Coordinator for the Waikiki Health Center
Darlene Hein, Program Coordinator for the Waikiki Health Center

KAPAHULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Roddy Marengo, an outreach worker with the Waikiki Health Center, and Paul Oshiro, Care-a-Van Program Manager for the Waikiki Health Center, were at Paki Community Park Wednesday counting the number of homeless people living there. They are among dozens of volunteers and social workers around the state assisting with the Point-in-Time Count.

"It's required by HUD," said Darlene Hein, Program Coordinator for the Waikiki Health Center and coordinator of the Point-in-Time Count on Oahu.

"The federal government says, 'during the last ten days in January every place that wants to get federal funding has to do this count.' It gives us information that allows us to compete for federal funding for individuals and families who are homeless. It's also used by the state and city to look at what our needs are," Hein told Hawaii News Now.

The count started Monday night when everyone in a shelter was counted. The rest of the week every homeless person found outside will be asked where they slept Monday. The numbers will be compiled so government knows with some confidence how many people were homeless at a point in time - - in this case the night of January 23, 2012.

Last year 3,632 people were counted in shelters. Another 2,299 were counted on the street. That is a total of 5,931 homeless, but the actual number of people living in shelters and on the street on any given night is probably even higher.

"Higher because there are people we are just going to miss. They are up in the woods. We are just not going to be able to find them, or they might have spent the night in a hospital or a jail or at a friend's house," Hein said.

In April the social workers and volunteers will go back out. They will be interviewing homeless as part of the 100,000 homes campaign.

"It's a national idea," Hein said. "Let's house people. Let's put people in housing and let's put those people who are most vulnerable into housing. We're really looking at medical conditions and who is most likely to die on the street. And we're saying, let's house these people."

Click on the link below to view the 2011 Point-in-Time Count report.

Click on the following link to learn more about the 100,000 homes campaign.

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