Local Connection: A year on homelessness

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It has been a year and a half since Hawaii News Now and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser began our unprecedented partnership in covering the homeless crisis.

Public outrage grew and public officials claimed they were ready to take on the problem. Despite the words, so far – it appears very little, if any, progress has been made.

While the largest encampments are gone, they have simply been replaced by multiple smaller camps that move around the city. There are also still hundreds of individuals who wander the streets sleeping where they can and living in unsafe and often filthy conditions.

It remains a humanitarian catastrophe.

What's clear is that our government – referring to both city and state – are lacking either the will or the competence to make serious strides against homelessness.

It's clear to everyone that substantial investment is needed in mental health care, drug treatment, social services and specialized housing.  And how we organize and deploy these resources must change.

It's hard to say what is worse – doing little to respond to a crisis, or saying you are doing something while almost nothing happens.

Right now, that's what it looks like.

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