Hawaii News Now: Homeless program whose federal funding was slashed get much-needed help

Jul. 22, 2016

Hawaii News Now
Homeless program whose federal funding was slashed get much-needed help
July 19, 2016

A scrapbook is one of the only possessions the Kanakaole family had left after their Wahiawa home burned last November. The family was homeless a little more than a month when they were connected with the Institute for Human Services' Rapid Rehousing Program.

"We were paying our rent and living a normal life and then all of a sudden the fire hits us and we're out there without anything,"  Kathy Kanakaole said. "Without that program I really don't know where we would be right now." In April, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development slashed all funding to the IHS Rapid Rehousing Program, along with seven other homeless programs on Oahu.The agency changed its criteria for distributing money, putting programming that helps hundreds -- like the Kanakaole family -- in doubt.

"Scoring is based on the ability of a system to coordinate, triage and assess homeless clients moving them into housing as quickly as possible," IHS spokesman Kimo Carvalho said. According to HUD, the programs weren't moving people into permanent housing as quickly as the agency would like. IHS lost out on nearly $300,000 -- money that could have helped 29 additional families. If the state didn't come up with the money to replace the funding, more than 300 people would have likely ended up back on the street. The agencies affected help a wide variety of clients, including homeless teens, people with HIV/AIDS or mental illness and families down on their luck.

This week, the state partnered with Aloha United Way in an effort to keep the problem from getting worse. The organization agreed to reallocate $600,000 of its state funding to help those programs, some on the verge of collapse. "The additional funding that we will receive from the state this week is about $108,000. That will allow us to serve another 15 to 20 households," Carvalho said. As for the Kanakaoles, their time in the Rapid Rehousing Program is up at the end of the month. They plan to move into permanent housing in the next couple weeks.

Nonprofit    Amount
Charities: Hoomanu Ke Ola    $78,111
Institute of Human Services: Rapid Re-Housing    $107,120
Gregory House Programs    $153,766
Hale Kipa: Transitional Living Program Housings    $80,063
Hoomau Ke Ola    $107,500
Kauai Economic Opportunity Incorporated: Shelter Plus Care Program    $17,741
Steadfast Housing    $66,859
TOTAL    $611,160