Housing first, with support for lasting stability
The homelessness problem in Hawaii has reached a critical point: we now have the highest rate of homelessness per capita, higher than both New York and Nevada. This increase is driven by years of rising costs in our state, low wages and limited land.
We must first start by providing housing for the houseless. Providing homes and support services to the chronically homeless costs less than the expensive cycle many repeatedly experience, including emergency room care for preventable illnesses and injuries, jails, temporary shelters, and psychiatric hospitals.
The Housing First approach to homelessness is simple: provide stable, permanent housing first, and then combine that housing with supportive treatment services in mental and physical health, substance abuse, education, and employment.