By: Rick Blangiardi
Hawaii News Now is making an unprecedented commitment to covering the homeless issue in our state.
Reporter Mileka Lincoln will be our primary eyes and ears on the ground looking at all aspects of the problem, from how it got this bad to how it can get better.
We will be examining mental health issues, housing concerns, tourism impacts as well as individual stories about how some of the homeless came to be that way. And that's just the start. It's a complicated story but it's one that we are committed to telling.
Last week, we brought you a hopeful story of Hawaii's interagency council on homelessness starting to put together its first comprehensive plan of figuring out who the homeless are and what they need the most.
Hale o Malama is the state's plan to create a coordinated intake and assessment for our homeless. They are putting names into databases to make sure everyone is entered into the system and the worst cases get the first priority.
Not everyone has the same needs. Some visit emergency rooms again and again, costing the state a fortune. Others just need temporary housing and a plan to get permanent housing.
But finding out exactly who these people are and getting them into a system that can help should be job one.