State gets details on needs of homeless
Recent research has taken a snapshot of who uses homeless services across the state, and the information will serve those, in turn, who provide services.
By the numbers
Individuals who used homeless shelter services statewide in 2005:
» Male: 3,279
» Female: 2,380
» Veterans: 467
» Less than high school education: 806
» High school diploma or equivalent: 1,796
» Some college: 793
» College degree or more: 247
» Single or couple with no children: 2,481
Source: Homeless Service Utilization Report: Hawaii 2006
The University of Hawaii's Center on the Family released its "Homeless Service Utilization Report: Hawaii 2006" this month. The information from shelter services, outreach programs and 17 providers in 2005 can now be used by the state in allocating how and where it needs to extend its outreach services, said Sandra Miyoshi, director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority's homeless programs branch.
"So much of the homeless problem is invisible unless you're personally involved," Miyoshi said. "It's important to have the information available to a variety of audiences in a compact, easily accessible format. That's the first step to getting things done."
Some of the report's highlights:
» More males than females used homeless services.
» Military veterans account for more than 10 percent.
» About 80 percent of adults had at least a high school diploma.
» More than a quarter of adults who received services from emergency or transitional shelters were employed, while 14 percent served by outreach programs were employed.
In all, 5,659 people used homeless services in 2005. About a third of those were under 17.
The report was compiled by Michael Ullman, Marika Ripke, Sylvia Yuen and Sarah Yuan.
The state's homeless programs branch earmarks millions of dollars -- $11 million this year -- for outreach and shelter services across the state, Miyoshi said. The information provided in the UH report will help allocate the money where it is needed.
"It adds information, and information always helps us to develop better policy," she said.
Miyoshi said about 30 provider agencies seek funding from the homeless division. Typically the agency has an annual budget of about $6 million, but legislative support has bolstered funding for start-up shelters.
"We're unique as far as the states go, because most of our program funds drive the outreach and shelter services on the state level, as opposed to the county level," Miyoshi said.