Rally at the Capitol to Provide Shelters for Hawaii's Homeless

(KHNL) Elected officials and community leaders rallied at the State Capitol on Wednesday to gain support for Hawaii's homeless problem.

Some say it has reached a crisis point.

"We're seeing an average of 80-100 people a day which is a lot of people and it's a big increase from what we're seeing 6 months ago," said Darlene Hein, program director for Waikiki Health Center's Care-A-Van Program.

Natisha Taualai, who's been living at Ala Moana Beach for two months, visits the center regularly with her husband and baby daughter. Taualai is also 7 months pregnant.

"It's kind of rough," she said.

There are many more like Taualai who need help, but facilities are being stretched thin.

That's why community leaders gathered at the rally, hoping to encourage elected officials to support housing and shelter initiatives. They were also helping people register to vote.

Sen. Ron Menor, who's with the Legislative Task Force on Housing and Homeless, says the government needs to take a more proactive role this session.

"Well it's going to take substantial funding and the Legislature is considering up to $40 million to address the issue in the future," said Sen. Menor.

"Making more shelters for homeless people because there's a lot of people that need help, not only me," said Taualai.

Community leaders say there needs to be more housing for low-income families and more programs that help place families into permanent homes.