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Wednesday, June 03, 2015
City Plans Sand Island Modular Housing for Homeless
By News Release @ 3:28 PM :: 3676 Views :: Honolulu County, Homelessness

Mayor Caldwell announces plan to build Hale Mauliola temporary modular housing and provide services for homeless on Sand Island site

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, June 2, 2015

Sand Island – Mayor Kirk Caldwell today announced plans to move forward with a temporary modular housing facility on a vacant lot on Sand Island.  The facility, which will be named Hale Mauliola after the Hawaiian goddess of health and well-being, will provide emergency housing for 75-100 homeless individuals for about two months each as service providers work with them to transition into more permanent supportive housing.

Hawai‘i State House of Representatives Housing Chair Mark Hashem, State Homelessness Coordinator Colin Kippen, State of Hawai‘i Department of Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami and Deputy Director of Harbors Darrell Young, representatives from Faith Action for Community Equity, Waikiki Health Care-A-Van/Next Step Shelter, Mental Health Kokua, Salvation Army, Institute for Human Services, and officials from the Office of Strategic Development, Office of Housing, and Department of Community Services joined Mayor Caldwell on-site for the announcement.

The city today issued two Request for Proposals, one for construction of the Modular Container Homes, and the second for a service provider to provide supportive services on site. Bids for construction are due on June 24 and bids for supportive services are due on June 19.  The administration hopes to open the facility this fall.

The site will feature 24-hour security and staffing.  A contractor will remove the kiawe and the Department of Facility Maintenance will grade the site and apply a smooth, recycled asphalt surface.  The State Department of Health tested the soil at the site this year for potential hazards and found that it was safe.

The plan calls for up to 25 modified shipping containers at the site.  Each modified container will be divided into three or four units of approximately 40-53 square feet.  Each living unit will have windows, a lockable door, and portable lighting.  Pets that do not pose a threat to other residents will be allowed.

The site will have a central hygiene trailer with private individual showers, toilets, sinks, and electric outlets.  Washbasins and clotheslines will be provided for laundry.  There will also be a common area for residents.  Shuttle service will be provided to the nearest TheBus stop.

The service provider will operate an intake center and program office.  The service provider must provide intake services Monday through Friday during business hours, and accommodate both referrals and drop in clients.

Hale Mauliola will be a point of entry into Honolulu’s system of homeless services known as the Continuum of Care, and be a centralized location where homeless individuals can go for basic services, and begin the transition out of homelessness.

Homeless persons arriving at Hale Mauliola will:

  • go through a standardized intake and assessment process to determine their specific needs,
  • have a case manager assigned,
  • have an individualized support program developed to determine a path to begin the transition out of homelessness, and
  • be offered various housing and shelter options that may help them begin the road back to housing within the broader community.

The units will be provided at no cost to qualified residents.  Persons who reside in these units must be engaged in case management and a service plan that will allow them to transition to housing or shelter within 60 days.  People will NOT be allowed to pitch their tent or construct temporary structures at the project site.

The lot is located just past the access bridge into Sand Island.  It is not part of the Sand Island State Park or any existing businesses.  The vacant land is being leased from the State of Hawai‘i for $1/year for three years as part of a city/state partnership to address homelessness.  At the end of the lease the lot will be returned to the state and used for its harbor modernization project.  The city will maintain ownership of the modular units.  The city is making this investment as an interim step as it builds permanent housing inventory.  Site map here.

Initial construction will cost about $500,000 to build the modular units, common areas, and infrastructure.  The city will spend about $1.5 million a year on support services for Hale Mauliola residents.

Sand Island temp housing press conf 6-2-15

-END

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PASS: 'Mayor’s Office has improved the proposal for the Sand Island site'

News Release June 2, 2015

The Mayor’s Office has improved the proposal for the Sand Island site to be used to house the chronically houseless. One of the main improvements include the installation of container units instead of the previous plan of providing a single main canopy on the property for up to 100 persons. Despite these design upgrades, the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery highlights several concerns with regard to safety and effectiveness for the proposed plan on ending houselessness. 

First, there are enforcement issues based on the question of how the City intends to move people to Sand Island. In practice, we worry that methods may be by threat or force due to existing and new criminalization laws targeted at the houseless (Stored Property, Park Closure, Sidewalk Nuisance, Sit-Lie)? 

Second, these container units will most likely not have built-in cooling abilities. The Sand Island site becomes very hot during the day and averages at least 90 degrees during the summer. Container units may “bake” under the hot sun, disincentivizing healthy, sanitary, or comfortable care. 

Third, there is a lack of access to clean drinking water. There exists no infrastructure for clean drinking water access at the Sand Island site. Port-a-potties and portable showers will not address this lack of access. 

Fourth, there remains an isolation issue due to the site’s remote location. Bus lines do not run to the site and street lighting at night fulfills the basic minimum, with no bike lanes for houseless who have bicycles. Without constant monitoring, this physical isolation will create safety hazards and create opportunities for increased crime activity. 

Fifth, without aggressive case-management, this facility will turn into another emergency shelter and will not help end houselessness. Emergency shelters are often established and then ignored once the cosmetic duty of temporarily removing the houseless from business and residential areas have occurred. Emergency shelters differ from Housing First Programs, the latter which offer aggressive case management with the specific goal of moving chronically houseless into permanent shelter immediately. 

Sixth, the City’s proposal targets the chronically houseless. Most of the unsheltered do not fit into the definition of chronically houseless. E.g. most of the houseless residents in Kaka‘ako park (500 persons) would not be affected by this proposal because, despite many families being homeless for years, they do not fit the definition of “chronically homeless.” 

Seventh, without immediate and aggressive case management, as one would receive in a real Housing First Program, there is no incentive nor guarantee that the houseless placed on Sand Island will remain in the facility. This would result in a waste of tax-payer dollars on this initiative. 

And lastly, while the City calls this a "transitional program" for Housing First, this is no way fits into best practices for a true Housing First Program. 

  *   *   *   *   *

SA: Manahan says the mayor's "piecemeal" approach just shifts homeless problem

SA: Move ahead with 'safe zones'

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