Daily VideoJune 19, 2017
After statewide efforts, Hawaii sees homelessness rate decrease
For a shorter video, stop at 3m:55s.
- Despite its relatively small population and land area, Hawaii has one of the highest rates of per-capita homelessness in the United States. Homelessness affects about 505 out of every 100,000 people there.
- Homelessness became such a large problem in the state that two years ago, Governor David Ige declared a state of emergency, which allowed additional funding to be spent on shelters and relief programs.
- Hawaii State Homeless Coordinator Scott Morishige said that Hawaii’s high housing costs–on average, $1800 a month for a one-bedroom apartment–contribute to its homelessness problem. Also, Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the United States.
- As an island state with limited land, development and new construction of affordable housing is difficult.
- Many homeless people in Hawaii are repeatedly admitted into hospitals, but a University of Hawaii study said that once they transitioned into housing, their medical costs decreased by 43 percent.
- However, due to new efforts such as a medical outreach program and Housing First, which provides the homeless with housing units, Hawaii’s homeless rate has declined for the first time in eight years by about nine percent.
- Essential question: Why is homelessness such a problem in the United States, the wealthiest country on Earth?
- How does Hawaii’s geography and characteristics make it uniquely prone to high rates of homelessness, and those high rates of homelessness difficult to surmount?
- What are some of the programs that the state of Hawaii has begun to address homelessness? Which strategy, in your opinion, is most effective?
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