New Kakaako homeless shelter seeks to place families quickly

New Kakaako homeless shelter seeks to place families quickly
Updated: Nov. 21, 2016 at 5:31 PM HST
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KAKAAKO (HawaiiNewsNow) - When a family walks into the Family Assessment Center in Kakaako, a path toward housing is set in motion.

Case workers at the center are tasked with connecting families with their own apartment in less than 90 days.

And since the center opened Sept. 28, the center has been full to capacity with 12 families (totaling about 47 people).

So far, two families have been housed and three more are on the verge of moving out.

Jennifer Ho, senior adviser to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary, said the assessment center is part of a broader push to move homeless into permanent housing more quickly.

"Every day that a kid spends homeless really has a long term impact on their health, their development," she said. "So if we can shorten that amount of time, that's critical."

Although the federal government has been pushing this model for years, Ho said not enough programs are operating this way in Hawaii.

"It's less expensive and it's getting better outcomes for families faster. If you can shorten the amount of time that any family stays you can actually support more families quicker," she said.

Half of the families who live at the Family Assessment Center were once living on the streets of Kakaako.

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