State kicks off annual homeless 'point-in-time' count

State kicks off annual homeless 'point-in-time' count

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of volunteers are canvassing the state in an effort to count every person living on the street.

The annual homeless "point-in-time" count, required by the federal government, got underway at 5 p.m. Monday.

Organizers say more than 450 people signed up to participate in this year's count on Oahu. That figures doesn't include outreach workers who are leading the teams.

Volunteers will try and make contact with as many homeless people as possible. The goal is to get them to take a survey whose key question is: "Where did you sleep on the night of Jan. 22?"

"We've got a couple incentives and we're basically just utilizing them to engage folks, create conversation," said Justin Phillips, of the Institute for Human Services.

Many of the people who complete the survey will be given a $5 gift card for food as well as a document holder to keep important items, like cell phones and IDs. Inside the pouch is also information on services available across the island.

Meanwhile, service providers will also count the number of people staying in the state's shelters.

Of the nearly 8,000 homeless people counted in last year's point-in-time count, over half were unsheltered.

Volunteers will continue this work until about 10 p.m. Monday. Teams will continue canvassing different communities across the state through Friday.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.