Number of tents in Kaka'ako homeless camp sky rockets - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Number of tents in Kaka'ako homeless camp sky rockets

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

New numbers provide a glimpse into the work being done to provide homeless with housing.  The Institute of Human Services says they've found places to live for about 14-hundred people, including families and individuals.
 
Those numbers might be hard to believe looking at the camps that continue to overrun parts of Oahu, especially in Kaka'ako.
 
"The population there has definitely increased substantially," said Institute of Human Services director of community relations Kimo Carvalho.

PHOTOS: Kakaako homeless encampment
 
According to Hawaii State Public Health 183 tents were counted near the Discovery Center just a few days ago compared to 116 just two
months ago.  Officials say well over half of the people living in those tents are families.
 
This specific encampment is considered a safe zone.  Sit/Lie laws aren't enforced like they are in other parts of the island.  Service
providers say another reason the camp continues to grow is that as quickly as they can get one homeless family into housing another falls into homelessness.
 
Carvalho says more needs to be done to keep people on the verge of losing their homes housed.
 
"The state really needs to coordinate better with mental health institutions, the hospitals, public safety with affordable developers
and also work with service providers in tandem so we're actually looking at a robust system that gets people off the streets but actually prevents people from falling into homelessness," said Carvalho.
 
State officials tell Hawaii News Now they've been working for three years on plan to get a handle on homelessness.  But when it comes
to getting any details officials won't comment on any specifics.
 
When asked about what's being done in regards to the encampment in Kaka'ako:

PHOTOS: Kakaako homeless encampment

"I can't give a timeline today but I can say we are meeting across departments to talk about what are the immediate issues what are the
intermediate and long term goals," said director of Hawaii Department of Human Services Rachael Wong.
 
IHS officials says unenforced zones like the one in Kaka'ako make the agency's job harder.  Officials there say in a lot of cases it takes
sweeps or being arrested for folks to be motivated to accept services.

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