HONOLULU — Homelessness in Hawaii has been decreasing since last year, except for on the island of Oahu, according to the latest numbers.

The numbers were announced Wednesday at the city’s latest homeless housing project.

The statewide decrease was the first in eight years, said Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator. He called the drop “pretty significant.”

“The object is certainly not just to displace individuals from one area to another,” Morishige said. “We want to focus on a long-term solution looking at permanent housing. We know that it’s not always possible to engage people to connect to services the first time around, so we really have to have a consistent focus on outreach and making sure we’re reaching the hardest-served individuals and we’re continuing to do that.”

The largest decrease in homelessness has been on The Big Island, which has seen 441 less homeless people. That’s a drop of 32 percent from last year.

Maui County had a 22 percent drop, or 249 people, while Kauai saw a 7 percent drop, or 30 fewer homeless people.

Oahu’s homeless population rose 0.4 percent.

“I commend the many partners who have gotten out of their silos, come to the table and rolled up their sleeves,” Gov. David Ige said in news release. “Together, we are finding more efficient ways to move people off the streets and into homes. This report is proof that our collective efforts are working.”

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.