Diverse Approaches Are Needed To Assist The Homeless

15 06 2016

I thought it was interesting that the Star Advertiser’s editorial board, in its opinion editorial of June 13, 2016, entitled, “Money flows for homeless but not long-range plans”, decided to call out the lack of vision of the state’s response to homelessness and highlight the little impact we are having at addressing such a pressing issue.

I absolutely agree that all Hawaii residents, including those that are homeless, need more than our current effort. I also agree that the lack of data and long term tracking of the effectiveness of our programs is hurting our efforts. Finally, I agree that more funding is necessary and that’s why the City Council has increased the Mayor’s proposed allocation for these types of programs by over $100 million in the last 3 fiscal years.   It is through these funds that the city administration was able to move forward with Hale Maulioha and Hassinger project among others.

Where I disagree with the editorial board is the notion that different approaches are necessarily uncoordinated and therefore wasteful. If we are to be successful we know that we need a diversity of approaches, assisting homeless seniors is different than providing services to homeless families.  A person who is homeless in Wahiawa may not have the same needs as a young parent in Kakaako.  Henceforth the logic in appropriating funds for all nine (9) districts of the City and County of Honolulu.  As also evidenced by the project spearheaded by the Aloha United Way, we need a diversity of service providers and approaches if we are to be successful.

In closing, while I am disappointed that the Star Advertiser continues to unprofessionally single out a key council staff, I am nevertheless pleased that its editorial board acknowledges the role of the Honolulu City Council in leading the discussion on this very complex problem, but, we should not dismiss the importance of the mayor and his administration on this issue as well.

 


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