Hawaii awarded $10.7 million to fight homelessness
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
On Tuesday, the Department of Housing and Urban
Development announced almost $1.6 billion in grant renewals to support over
7000 local homeless housing and service programs across the country.
38 agencies in Hawaii were awarded a total of $10.7 million.
HUD Assistant Secretary Mark Johnston is in Hawaii, and
spoke to Hawaii's Interagency Council on Homelessness.
"If we have limited resources, what is the smartest way
we can do, in terms of solving homelessness.
It's using the dollars in a very strategic way to reduce it"
Johnston noted in during the forum that leaving homelessness
untreated often winds up costing the taxpayer more than funding programs to end
it. The reason being systematic; "Because
people do cycle between all these institutions that were never designed to
solve homelessness" he said.
"We're paying those fees so why not taking that money
we're spending anyway and put it to a good use to help save lives and reduce
costs?" asked Colin Kippen, Chair of the Hawaii Interagency Council on
Another topic of the forum was the national shift to
‘housing first', that is to provide the homeless with housing before entering
them into treatment.
"Housing is the focus, so no matter what kind of
service we're providing we're always looking at how can we get this person into
housing as quickly as possible" said Connie Mitchell, Executive Director
of the Institute for Human Services.
A byproduct of the gathering was for the agencies to meet,
collaborate, and get on the same page.
"This coming together is about literally trying to stitch
together all these different entities in a way that will enable us to make a
difference" said Kippen.
"With the political will that's present right now
that's coming together at every level of government, I think we can do it"