Outreach center that aims to move homeless into shelters moves to urban core

The HONU program (Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons) moved from Waipahu...
The HONU program (Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons) moved from Waipahu to Old Stadium Park in Moiliili on Monday.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Mar. 2, 2020 at 6:06 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MOILIILI, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A mobile outreach center that helps homeless people transition into shelters moved from Waipahu to Moiliili on Monday.

The Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons hub is a three-year, $6 million pilot project.

Nani Race, 62, was among the first to go through the intake process at the new location at Old Stadium Park.

She said she became homeless after making some bad choices, but now she is hoping to enter a shelter.

"It looks nice and they're really getting it together," said Race. "I'm happy they're helping the homeless."

Since the launch in Waipahu in December, the program admitted 258 clients and placed 157 of them in shelter, according to city officials.

"Now our job is to continue to monitor that and be able to determine how many of them stay sheltered and that will be the true determination of the success of our program," said Pam Witty-Oakland, director of the Department of Community Services.

Witty-Oakland said the city is working with the McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board to address any concerns.

The HONU services are available 24/7, offering an option when authorities clear sidewalks and parks.

The center will relocate to different communities every two to three months, in coordination with homeless sweeps.

"As far as enforcement goes, we were able to clear out Waipahu Cultural Gardens, get a handle on Hans L'Orange as well as begin to clean up the area behind Waipahu High School and in the areas around Blaisdell Park," said Captain Mike Lambert of the Honolulu Police Department.

HONU is part of the Ohana Zone initiative that the legislature provided funding for in 2018.

“We know it’s not going to work for everybody,” said Scott Morishige, the governor’s homeless coordinator. “We have to have an array of options to connect people to, so the HONU is just one component in our toolbox.”

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.