The Conversation: Tuesday, September 15th 2015

Sep 15, 2015

Community Solutions and the 100,000 Homes Campaign; The Homeless Paradise Blog; Special Assistant to the Mayor of Houston for Homeless Initiatives; Homelessness in the C&C of Honolulu

Community Solutions: Beth Sandor

In June of last year, we considered Hawaii’s progress in the 100,000 Homes Campaign just as it was coming to a successful conclusion. Community Solutions, the national nonprofit that ran it, says the four year project housed a total of 105,580 people. Both Honolulu and Hilo had participated but had failed the criterion to house 2.5% of homeless folks each month. Community Solutions is now nine months into a two year campaign to help committed communities do whatever it takes to end veteran and chronic homelessness by December 21st, 2016. Beth Sandor is the director of Zero: 2016, a follow-on to the 100,000 Homes Campaign, and she joined the show with an update on Honolulu’s progress.

  • Intro Music: Homeless by Ryan Richard
  • Outro Music:  Homeless by Graham Saber

The Homeless Paradise Blog: Diana Kim

Diana Kim speaking with a child in the Kakaako homeless encampment
Credit Diana Kim

Diana Kim is a photographer who uses her art to reach out to Hawaii’s homeless population and tell their story on her photo blog, The Homeless Paradise. Through the project she re-connected with her father who was living on the street and was able to help him begin the effort to get back on his feet. Her photographs are intimate views of homeless life, but unlike so many on the subject, they manage not to be invasive.  We spoke with her about her work.

  • Intro Music: Just Another Day In Paradise by Perry Guy
  • Outro Music: Another Day in Paradise by Homestead

Special Assistant to the Mayor of Houston for Homeless Initiatives: Mandy Chapman Semple

Between January 2011 and January of this year, the city of Houston, Texas brought the number of chronically homeless people from slightly over 1,900 to almost 600. Over the same 4 year period, overall homelessness was reduced by 50 percent - from under 8,500 to 4,600.  At 7,600 counted homeless people, Hawaii’s latest point in time count isn’t that far away from Houston’s 2011 count. So are there lessons that a city an ocean and half a country away have for Hawaii? Mandy Chapman Semple is the Special Assistant to Houston's Mayor for Homeless Initiatives and she joined the show to share her thoughts. She works in partnership with the Continuum of Care to design and support the implementation of Houston’s plan to end homelessness.  The key parts of Houston's plan are the development of rapid rehousing strategies, and the alignment of supportive housing and service resources.

  • Intro Music: Homeless by Vangelis
  • Outro Music: Homeless Child by Ben Harper

Homelessness in the C&C of Honolulu: Mayor Kirk Caldwell

A week ago, as announced, a smaller part of the homeless encampment in Kakaako saw its first enforcement action in many months. It’s part of the phased closure of the tent city lining the streets near the UH Medical School and businesses. As of yesterday, 78 people have been placed into shelter or other housing, including 12 families, totaling 44 people (including 24 children), at IHS, Next Step and Lighthouse shelters. When he ran for mayor in 2012, Kirk Caldwell’s big issue was rail. Over the past year, it appears to be homelessness. Mayor Caldwell is part of the Governor’s Homelessness leadership team and he joined the show with an update on homelessness in the City and County of Honolulu.

  • Intro Music: Homeless by Streets of Laredo
  • Outro Music: Homeless by J Holiday