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Connecting with the homeless

HANAPEPE — The House Connect outreach event presented by the County Housing Agency in partnership with community agencies and groups continues on Thursday at The Salvation Army Lihu‘e Corps, starting at 10 a.m.

“This is so good that they’re having this in more than one place,” said a volunteer from the YWCA of Kaua‘i. “It used to be just in one place before, but people who need the services of what is being offered were not able to get to the event.”

The latest Bridging the Gap Hawai‘i Point In Time census shows a total of 444 homeless individuals on Kaua‘i. Of that total, 404 of them are unsheltered. This is an increase from the 339 count in 2015, where 88 of the homeless were sheltered.

The House Connect outreach event, the fourth being presented by the County Housing Agency, brings resources and partners together with resources and information geared toward getting more people under roofs. It is held in observance of Nov. 12 to 20 being National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.

“This year’s Kaua‘i Housing Connect event is a prime opportunity for us all to get involved and help make a difference — small or large,” said County Housing Director Adam Roversi.

“Our Housing Agency staff is proud to partner with the Kaua‘i Community Alliance as together we continue to conduct outreach across the island, connecting people with various programs and services.”

The PIT census further breaks down the total number of homeless individuals to where the homeless are, indicating that the West region has a total of 74 homeless, all unsheltered, that is an increase from the 57 counted in 2015 when the census started.

The East region started with a count of 43 total homeless in 2015 and jumped to 131 in 2022, its highest count in the seven-year span.

The South Central region showed a 179 homeless population in 2022, a decrease from the 180 count in 2015 following a peak population of 226 people in 2018.

Another area of decline is in the North region, where the 2022 PIT Count showed 43 homeless people, a decrease from the 58 counted in 2015.

More than 10 agencies, many of them from the Kaua‘i Community Alliance, including Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, Family Life Center, County Housing Agency, Malama Pono Health Services, Project Vision Hawai‘i, The Salvation Army, Wilcox Medical Center and CARE Hawai‘i offered a wide range of services, including hot showers, free hot meals, wound care, information on vital documents, housing voucher sign-ups and more.

These agencies were joined by the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office, Ho‘ola Lahui, state Department of Education, and the Kaua‘i Humane Society offering free vaccinations, microchipping, collars and food.

“We were invited,” said Caitlin Fowlkes of the Kaua‘i Humane Society, who was kept busy along with KHS Director Nicole Schafer Crane, veterinarian Dr. Calley Hille and technician Stephenie Silva, whose bedside manner with pets getting treated kept everything moving smoothly.

“We want to do more,” Hille said.

“This is why we opened the Community Care Center sponsored by PetSmart Charities. People can come in (no appointments necessary) and get their (animal) vaccines, or urgent care needs taken care of without the high fees. It’s affordable.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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