8 homeless shelters don’t meet new standards, but will be funded anyway

Updated: Apr. 16, 2019 at 2:04 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state has had to throw out the results of its latest bids from homeless shelter providers after eight of 34 homeless shelters failed to meet new quality standards.

Instead of shutting any homeless shelters down, the state is giving everyone a redo.

Officials at the state Department of Human Services won’t confirm which shelters didn’t meet its new standards. They also wouldn’t explain exactly how those standards will be applied moving forward because they don’t want to jeopardize the procurement process.

In a memo dated April 12, the state announced eight funding proposals submitted by Hawaii’s homeless service providers failed to get a passing score in the bidding process for funding.

Because closing the shelters would leave an "unprecedented gap in the state’s homeless service system” the decision was made to scrap the current bidding process and fund the shelters anyway.

A state spokesperson said it was done to give everyone a chance to get on the same page.

“We’re really looking to transform the way we do homeless services and we’ve changed over time. So the canceling of the RFP is really to fine tune where we can do things better and where we can work with our service providers,” said Keopu Reelitz, of the Department of Human Services.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green says shutting down the shelters would be catastrophic. He says they may need more money to meet some of the state’s new expectations.

“Rather than lie on their applications, they said I don’t think we can do it,” said Green. “When it came back and the scores weren’t high enough a light bulb went off and DHS said, ‘OK, let’s work a little closer with them before we go forward.’”

No word yet on when the state will issue a new request for proposals.

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