The 2009 Homeless Service Utilization Report offers sobering statistics.
The more you consider CTAHR’s Center on the Family, the broader its scope seems to become. So much of our lives takes place in the context of family, symbolized in Hawai‘i by our emphasis on ‘ohana. It’s not surprising, therefore, to find COF investigating and disseminating information on subjects that affect families—such diverse topics as incarcerated parents, drugs in schools, demographics of the elderly, and utilization of services for the homeless.
This last topic was the focus of a recent COF report, the fourth on homelessness since the center began investigating the issue in 2006. The 2009 Homeless Service Utilization
Report looks at two types of programs, shelter and outreach: those organizations that offer temporary beds or rooms, and those that help the homeless where they live, in parks, on beaches, on the streets. The information is then used by policymakers, program managers, and advocates to best allocate limited resources and make the hard choices needed to help one of the Islands’ most vulnerable populations.
The report offers sobering statistics in plenty: for instance, 30 percent of those accessing shelter services were employed at least part time; in Maui County, 26 percent were employed full time. Just over a third of the recipients of shelter program services were minors (up to age 17); more than half of those were under age 6.
The information COF reveals is being put to good use. The 2009 report finds that compared with 2006, 601 new units of transitional housing and 260 new emergency shelter beds have become available. This brings the total to 1,185 units and 785 beds, a significant increase.
There’s no question that homelessness is a continuing and distressing problem, one that we need to continue combating with all the resources at our disposal. The Center on the Family will continue to provide those who allocate the resources with information essential to moving toward compassionate solutions.