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City launches new crisis outreach program to provide services to homeless in need

Refurbished ambulances will run up to 12 hours a day.
Refurbished ambulances will run up to 12 hours a day.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 4:36 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city launched a new crisis outreach program Friday to provide assistance to homeless while also lessening strain on first responders.

The program is called CORE, which stands for Crisis Outreach Response and Engagement.

As part of the program, the city refurbished ambulances that will run up to 12 hours a day. Each vehicle will be staffed with two emergency medical technicians and a community health worker.

The team will respond to non-emergencies and homeless people in need of food or minor medical care.

Furthermore, instead of the hospital, patients will be taken to clinics like the Punawai Rest Stop, which is a hygiene center that provides free restrooms, showers and laundry facilities for the homeless.

“The problem of homelessness is not an easy fix, otherwise it would have been fixed already,” said Jim Ireland, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department.

“This is just a different approach — following patients, following people, connecting people with services to try to do better.”

The city said $5 million from a grant and federal funds are going toward the program.

It will serve the areas between downtown and Waikiki, and officials said they hope it will ultimately expand throughout the island.

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