New questions in homeless survey aimed at better understanding l - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New questions in homeless survey aimed at better understanding lives of those on streets

(Image: Hawaii News Now/File) (Image: Hawaii News Now/File)

Hundreds of volunteers are gearing up to canvass the state next week in an effort to count every person living on the street.

In addition to the 13 federally-mandated questions, many of Oahu's homeless will be asked to go into more specific detail about race.

"We've expanded the different populations," said Partners in Care Director Jen Stasch. "We're asking to determine if people are coming from the mainland and experiencing homelessness or whether those who are experiencing homelessness are the local population."

If you identify at all as Native Hawaiian, surveyors will ask if your eligible for Hawaiian homelands and if you're on the waiting list to receive a lease.

"Having Native Hawaiian specific data is really critical," said Sterling Wong, spokesman for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

He says there hasn't been much research done on exactly how many native Hawaiians are homeless in the islands.

"Having the best data, Native Hawaiian specific data, just makes sure our money goes to the right programs and the right services," said Wong.

This expanded survey is nearly twice as long as the old one and will only be given to folks living in the more rural areas of Oahu.

"Some of the regional leaders that are implementing the count in town felt that expanding the survey in those areas would be more difficult. They were concerned with safety and that it would just take too much time," said Stasch.

There are three new questions regarding gender identity. Surveyors will also ask about domestic violence -- specifically if that person is homeless because they fled an abusive situation. Organizers are also looking to collect data on how many homeless people have pets.

"What it's tied to is us as a community wanting to better understand who's unsheltered and how to provide better services," said Stasch

The point-in-time count begins Jan. 22. Organizers are still short about 150 volunteers. Click here to sign up. 

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