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Former Tokai University Building Becomes Homeless 'Kauhale'
By News Release @ 2:13 PM :: 492 Views :: Higher Education, Homelessness

Mayor Blangiardi and Governor Green highlight rapid progress at Waikīkī Vista: key housing facility for homeless families nears full occupancy

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, July 5, 2024

HONOLULU – Today, Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Governor Josh Green delivered a powerful update on the transformative housing and homelessness initiatives underway at Waikīkī Vista. This pivotal project is rapidly advancing, with over half of the units now occupied and full occupancy expected by the end of summer 2024.

“For our most vulnerable families, this place represents more than just a roof over their heads,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “This is a safe space for stabilization where families can be connected with the resources that they need to meet their individual needs. Mahalo to our partners from the State, Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, our outreach partners, and everyone else who collaborated to make this program a reality. This is another big step forward toward our goal of getting more people off of the streets, into more permanent housing, and into our workforce and school systems.”

As of July 5, 2024, Waikīkī Vista has already provided emergency shelter and transitional housing to 21 families, including 37 adults and 41 minors. Additionally, 23 affordable housing units are occupied, with five more move-ins scheduled. The entire facility, including emergency, transitional, and affordable housing, is on track to be fully occupied by the end of summer 2024.

“We are making significant progress toward housing our homeless neighbors. I thank Mayor Blangiardi for his leadership and his team for continuing to execute, every day, in alignment with state Homelessness Coordinator John Mizuno and the rest of my team, to help the vulnerable among us," said Governor Josh Green, M.D. "Our Emergency Proclamation relating to Homelessness helped the city to more efficiently select a services provider, Catholic Charities, to help meet the needs of the residents of Waikīkī Vista. This is a great step forward in our collective, collaborative efforts to compassionately house our unhoused people."

Housing Solutions Inc. is the property manager for the building, and they are managing five floors of affordable housing studio units. Catholic Charities Hawai‘i is administering the program known as Hale ‘Imi Ola—meaning “to seek life.” This program operates on four floors of Waikīkī Vista, offering emergency shelter for up to 33 families or 105 individuals each year. After stabilizing in the emergency shelter, families can transition to the bridge housing units on other floors, ultimately moving into permanent housing. This bridge housing is expected to assist up to 50 families, or 165 individuals, annually.

“Waikīkī Vista is an important part of our overall homeless and housing strategy,” added City and County of Honolulu Homeless Coordinator Sam Moku. “While we are discouraged to see any increase in homelessness among families, and especially children, we continue to work hard to create more shelter space and affordable housing opportunities for this critical demographic.”

The City and County of Honolulu, in close coordination with the State of Hawai‘i, is aggressively expanding shelter space and services for the homeless community. The state’s Behavioral Health Crisis Center has begun accepting homeless clients for mental health services. The city has also acquired the Iwilei Center for homeless services and low-barrier emergency shelter, and a new facility on North King Street will soon provide medical triage services and a kauhale village of tiny homes for homeless individuals and families.

Together, these initiatives are reshaping the landscape of homelessness in Honolulu, offering immediate support and building pathways to lasting solutions.

—PAU—

SA: Green, Blangiardi unveil Waikiki high-rise homeless kauhale

HNN: Former college in Waikiki will soon house 120 homeless families as part of city program

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