Local Connection: Homeless Count

Local Connection: Homeless Count

It has been a year since homelessness reached the crisis level and six months since Hawaii News Now and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser began our unprecedented partnership covering the homeless issue.

We'd hoped by now to see some real progress but most experts and officials are saying that the number of people on the street has not been significantly reduced.

And in stories this week we and the newspaper are reporting crippling weaknesses in the system.

The annual point in time count – which is already considered unscientific and inexact – was crippled by lack of volunteers.

And Hawaii News Now discovered the homeless services tracking system is also in disarray. It's supposed to follow people from initial outreach to final housing but we can't tell if people are being counted twice or not counted at all.  Some may be getting too much attention while others fall through the cracks.

To borrow from business 101 – if we can't measure homelessness we can't manage it. This is a fundamental flaw which needs immediate attention instead of excuses and blame.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.