Aloha United Way (AUW) will be overseeing a $5.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for permanent supportive housing, furthering Hawaii’s quest to end homelessness. Funding will support the efforts of Steadfast, Institute for Human services (IHS) and Kalihi Palama Health Center, who run programs focused on providing housing and services to homeless individuals with disabilities including serious mental illness, chronic addiction and other physical disabilities, and their families.
The Permanent Supportive Housing grant benefits a particularly challenged subpopulation of the homeless community whose various disabilities make them unable to work and in need of support to survive. “As Hawaii strives to combat homelessness, we must uplift every segment of our homeless population,” said Pamela Witty-Oakland, director for the Department of Community Services. “Individuals with disabilities who are unable to work require a unique and sustainable type of assistance that will be supported by these funds.”
“These funds will provide IHS critical support for our housing programs which focus on providing rental subsidies and long-term case management to homeless individuals and families with disabilities,” said Connie Mitchell, executive director of IHS.
“Historically, our system has required homeless people to be sober and stable before they can get housing, not recognizing the challenges individuals with disabilities face every day. But the fact is that if people don’t have a safe, clean place to sleep, it’s much harder for them to overcome addiction or get healthy,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This funding acknowledges that housing must come first, and it’s going to an organization that has a great track record of doing good work. With this money, Aloha United Way can continue to help those who need it most in our community.”
AUW will leverage its nimbleness and proven capability as a fiscal agent to optimize the flow of funding from HUD to the agencies who are serving our community. “We are extremely honored for the opportunity to serve as the conduit for the HUD grant,” said Norm Baker, COO of AUW. “We are striving to streamline the process while providing sustainable financial assistance as quickly as possible to those who need it most.”
The grant accompanies other funds from HUD focused on helping Hawaii’s homeless. “The recently announced annual renewal of homeless Continuum of Care funds for our two Hawaii agencies, Partners In Care for Oahu and Bridging the Gap for the Neighbor Islands, reflects HUD’s ongoing commitment to keep our vulnerable community members housed, while also seeking to house individuals still unsheltered,” said Ryan Okahara, Honolulu field office director of HUD.