City to hold public meeting on proposed Sand Island Housing First Center

Published: Sep. 8, 2014 at 9:10 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 9, 2014 at 3:27 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The City and County of Honolulu will hold a public meeting on the proposed Sand Island Housing First Transition Center on Wednesday, September 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pu‘uhale Elementary School Cafeteria.

Housing First is a nationally recognized best practice that takes the most vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals and families off of the street to place them directly into permanent supportive housing, with access to services to help support their independence.

The city says the facility will not be a “safe zone” or “tent city”. Instead, Housing First principles will be employed in an outdoor setting to bring people who are homeless into a safe, supportive environment and provide assessment services, stability, and access to supportive services in the interim before permanent housing units become available.

Since the city's permanent supportive housing efforts are just starting up, the Caldwell Administration says its considering establishing a temporary Housing First Transition Center (Center) in partnership with the State at Sand Island.

The facility is meant to be a stopgap measure to immediately support 100 of the most challenged unsheltered individuals and families and apply the best practices to get them the support they need and desire.

The Sand Island location was selected after a search that included 25 island-wide locations, from Hawaii Kai to Ewa.

Most sites were deemed unusable for the Housing First project, due to proximity to high density residential areas, proximity to schools, or economic impact on larger community.

The city says the safety of the occupants of this Center, service providers, neighbors, surrounding businesses, and the general public who use facilities on Sand Island is the top priority for the Housing First Transition Center. The Center will have 24/7 security and onsite management staff working in coordination with security teams from neighboring properties.

Supportive services, case management, and transportation services will all be available to clients and there is no charge to stay at the facility.

The city also said the Center will offer a hygiene center, secure storage, segregated sleeping and community areas and be pet friendly.

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