By: Rick Blangiardi
Last week's editorial piece on Hawaii's Homeless produced some interesting comments, but also some very favorable results.
We finally heard from Governor Abercrombie who sent three of his top staffers (Bruce Coppa, Chief of Staff, Colin Kippen, Chair of Hawaii's Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Governor's Homelessness Coordinator, and Brian Matson (top assistant to Mr. Kippen)
They came to Hawaii News Now to brief us on his administration's efforts to end homelessness in Hawaii.
These men produced a large folder of the current State and Federal initiatives that are presently in the works to attach this critical challenge. The body of work represents more than two years of strategic planning.
What we were encouraged to learn is that the city and state appear to be aligned on these initiatives, perhaps for the very first time, but as we have been reporting on Hawaii News Now, Honolulu's City Council and our State legislature aren't necessarily on the same page -- a situation that will have to change if we are going to eliminate homelessness.
Beyond that, we discussed the incredible complexity of dealing with the many reasons why people become homeless…from mental health issues, drug addiction, unemployment…and the list goes on. Clearly, not a simple problem to fix, but also not impossible!
In my opinion, the issue of solving the homeless problems in Hawaii needs to have a "face" – someone people know is responsible for ending this crippling and growing problem. I have offered, and Mr. Kippen has accepted, to use this Local Connection spot to speak to the people of Hawaii. I plan to contact his counterpart at the city this week.
We look forward to hearing from these men about the progress we hope to see in the immediate future.