By: Colin Kippen (State Homelessness Coordinator)
Aloha Mai Kakou.
Being homeless is like falling into an abyss - the longer you are in - the harder it is to climb out. The fall into homelessness may be caused by an overwhelming traumatic event, by untreated mental illness or substance abuse, or by being unable to afford our high cost of living.
We can end homelessness by permanently rehousing those who become homeless as soon as possible.
For the sickest and most chronically homeless, housing them first with services is less expensive than what we are already paying in 9-1-1, medical, police, jail, and court costs.
We can stabilize those whose needs are less with short-term financial support, permanent housing, and lower, yet appropriate levels of service.
We've created a system to triage the homeless into the right fit of permanent housing and services by using best practices that are evidence based. And, we're encouraged that the state, city and other organizations are working together to implement these changes.
Together, we can end homelessness by focusing on what works, by realizing that government alone is not the answer, and by building bridges between our public, private, and community sectors in ways we have yet to achieve.
We can do this. If you would like to help, please contact me.
A hui hou. Until we meet again.