As homeless crisis continues, service providers convene to brainstorm long-term solutions
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s homeless crisis remains a huge social and political issue.
With about 6,000 residents living on the streets, Hawaii’s service providers gathered Wednesday to discuss long-term solutions.
The Institute for Human Services organized the Housing For Success conference and providers say helping the homeless goes far beyond offering shelter.
“Housing is one aspect of ending homelessness,” said IHS Executive Director Connie Mitchell.
“The other part is really bringing healing to people, helping them reintegrate into the community, really feeling a part, like you can really do things with other people again. We’re hoping that can help in all aspects of their life.”
A multi-faceted problem requires a holistic approach.
That’s why IHS called together nearly 20 of the state’s service providers to discuss the best ways to help Hawaii’s homeless, even after they move into housing.
Wednesday’s presentations focused on a number of topics, including substance abuse treatment, finance training, hygiene, and mental health.
“Our role is to teach those people to build bridges for themselves socially,” said IHS Clinical Director Jerry Coffee. “To have a support system and to feel confident and competent about ... occupying their own space and giving them an opportunity to establish that dignity that prior to being housed was really a luxury.”
IHS says of the clients it has been able to house, more than 80% stayed off the streets.
Critical to increasing that number is helping the clients overcome trauma and emphasizing that support is available. Last year, IHS helped provide housing for more than 1,600 clients.
If you or know of anyone in need of assistance, contact IHS’s outreach number at 447-2883.
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