State provides $13 million to homeless shelters with focus on permanent housing

The state is putting up $13 million to fight against homelessness.

The goal is to add more beds to shelters and to get more people into permanent housing.

The state made the announcement in Kakaako Park, where 290 in the homeless community have been placed into shelter or housing since August of 2015

That’s where the focus is shifting to this year, making sure people who get off the streets stay off.

Gov. David Ige said it’s the next step toward ending homelessness by 2020.

“We do know that homelessness has increased across the state and this contract will really help us move forward,” Ige said.

The state is providing $13 million to 33 shelters statewide. It’s the same amount of money given to homeless projects last year, but this year the state plans to help twice as many people.

The goal is to move 6,200 people into permanent housing.

“We want to do more with what we currently have, really increasing efficiency and accountability,” state homeless coordinator Scott Morishige said.

“It allows us to continue the momentum and to focus on permanent housing in the community,” Gov. Ige said.

We wanted to know how does the state plan to do this? We’re told shelters will be putting families in touch with child care providers, job contacts, as well as helping to pay for first month’s rent and security deposits.

Close to 200 beds will be added. The state said the shelters will follow newly established federal guidelines along with using already existing community resources to get those struggling back on their feet.

“Those new standards put an emphasis on shortening the length of stay in shelter and increasing the number of people going into permanent housing,” Morishige said.

The state said their progress is already evident.

“We’ve seen a 25-percent drop in the evictions on Oahu, so it’s not just about getting people into homes, it’s helping them stay there,” Morishige said.

Ige plans to put even more money toward ending homelessness in the future. His budget proposal includes $20 million for the next two fiscal years.

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