Thursday, September 29, 2005

Notes from September Meeting: "Working together to end homelessness in Hawaii"

Laura Theilen, Executive Director, Affordable Housing and Homeless Alliance

With the cost of housing steadily increasing throughout the islands of Hawaii, there is an ever-increasing need to address the issue of affordable housing for our community members. The Alliance, along with many other agencies throughout the islands have been working together to increase the number of affordable housing units available in the community while at the same time decreasing the number of those who experience homelessness.

The issue of homelessness is very complex and therefore requires multiple approaches to address this issue. Partners In Care is the homeless coalition on Oahu and works with all of the providers of services for those who are homeless. The Hawaii Policy Academy on Families Experiencing Homelessness focuses on systemic changes that must be accomplished in order to address family homelessness. The Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness works on addressing the needs of those individuals who are considered to be chronically homeless. There are other groups that focus on short-term approaches to addressing homelessness including the Solidarity With the Homeless group.

All of these groups are dedicated to the idea that homelessness can be prevented and ended. Through working at the Legislature and City Council to remove barriers that are often encountered by those experiencing homelessness and working with community members to address the various needs of those who are homeless we can end homelessness and prevent future homelessness. If you would like to get involved in one of these groups or would like more information on the issue of homelessness and affordable housing, please contact Laura E. Thielen at 845-4565.

Message from Thielen: "We won a little victory in regards to the city council resolution regarding affordable housing. Based on our encouragement not to reinstate the moratorium on requirements of developers to sell affordable units to those individuals in the target group, Councilwoman Marshall has decided not to hear the resolution [at this time.] It may come up at a later date and if it does, I will let you know so that you can pass it on to your constituency."