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Monday, January 12, 2015
IHS: New Laws Pushing Homeless to Accept Shelter
By News Release @ 10:32 AM :: 5757 Views :: Homelessness


News Release from IHS January 11, 2015

HONOLULU – In its first two months in Waikiki, The Institute for Human Services (IHS) Homeless Outreach Program received over 170 community referrals and began serving a significant number of Waikiki’s homeless population. Those served include many seniors who have been homeless for over 10 years (41%). Only 3-months into the Sit-Lie and Public Urination and Defecation Laws, long-term, chronic and vulnerable homeless clients are being engaged through outreach and considering alternative solutions to their homelessness such as treatment and a home. IHS’ staff is offering an array of housing options both temporary and long-term, including public or permanent housing, transitional housing, and the City’s Housing First program.

IHS’ Airline Relocation Assistance Program has become part of the mix of new housing options for homeless clients seeking to reconnect with family, friends or other social services providers in their home state. Rumors abound that other State’s and caring family members send homeless individuals to Hawaii. IHS Executive Director, Connie Mitchell, stated “it’s very easy to turn a subsidy check into a one way ticket. But many are stranded on our island surprised by Hawaii’s high cost of living, challenges finding employment, and adjusting to the culture. Others become victims of theft and lose their documents and ability to return to the mainland. This program is an expedient way to facilitate rehousing someone in a more familiar community of support.”

On December 24th, 2014 IHS successfully reunited Roger Thompson with family through the HIS relocation assistance program. Thompson was living under the Ala Wai/Kalakaua Bridge just months before. He developed a foot infection, was taken to Queens Emergency Room and referred to IHS. Thompson stayed at IHS for 5 weeks where he obtained identification and connected with his sister in Texas. He arrived in Dallas Fort Worth on Christmas morning and is now stably housed with family.

Waikiki Homeless Outreach Program Metrics To-Date (11/3/15 – 1/9/15):

Intakes: 63

  • Homeless (street) Outreach: 49
  • Walk-ins from Waikiki: 14

Housed on Oahu: 4

Relocated Out of State: 1

End of Year Goals:

  • Serve 300 of Waikiki’s Homeless
  • Move 140 off the streets and into shelter and/or direct housing
  • Assist 120 in relocating out of state

Other Insights:

IHS Airline Relocation Assistance Program Criteria:

  • Client must pay for at minimum half their ticket cost
  • Client must have a safety net plan on the receiving end after departing Hawaii that is vetted through Case Management and/or Outreach Personnel

Prior to this program, clients would pay 100% of their airline ticket costs. By paying for at least half the ticket cost, IHS is able to move more people through the system quicker and open beds for other homeless clients

Waikiki Homeless Outreach Program Budget Status (As of 1/19/15):

  • Budget Goal: $500,000
  • Received: $112,750
  • Remaining Amount to Raise by 6/2015: $387,250

2015 Annual Point in Time Count:

This year, IHS will be coordinating the count for Waikiki, Urban Honolulu, and North Shore, Oahu. The Super-count will begin on January 26th, 2015 and last until January 30th, 2015. For more information, please contact or call 808-447-2810

  • IHS is requesting for community volunteers who will be trained to work with its Homeless Outreach staff to assess and interview each person counted
  • The Annual Point in Time Count is important for Hawaii to assess the state of homelessness and better understand what resources are needed to address Hawaii’s homeless problem

Ongoing Reporting:

IHS will continue to issue a monthly status report to the general public and Waikiki stakeholders related to the progress being made in Waikiki. Next Report Date: February 9th, 2014


About IHS, The Institute for Human Services, Inc.: IHS is Hawaii’s oldest and largest and most comprehensive homeless service provider that is working to end and prevent homelessness on Oahu. As an emergency shelter, IHS stabilizes homeless individuals and families by assessing and triaging their core reasons for becoming homeless. The organization then delivers an array of services that qualifies them to obtain and maintain a home and live a sustainable lifestyle. Its services include emergency shelter, daily meals and food programs, healthcare, case management, employment, children enrichment, housing and homeless outreach. As a housing-focused non-profit agency, IHS works with various government and private sector programs to qualify and place on average 1,500 each year into housing programs.

For more information, please visit: 

NBC News Video: Homeless man from Hawaii met by Sister at Dallas-Ft Worth Airport


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