LIHUE — Hawaii’s legislative leaders said Thursday that $11.7 million in federal grants to support 35 homeless assistance programs in the state will help meet a critical need.
“Hawaii’s soaring cost of living and extreme shortage of truly affordable housing has made it very hard for local families to make ends meet, and contributed to the heart-wrenching homeless crisis we face today,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “This affects our children, families, kupuna, veterans, and most vulnerable, and demands action and collaboration by every level of government, the private sector, and our community.”
The funding is part of more than $2 billion awarded to states through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to support more than 7,300 local homeless assistance programs across the nation.
Hawaii continues to have the highest per-capita rate of homelessness in the country.
The list of programs to receive money did not specifically name any on Kauai. The Garden Island could not confirm Thursday whether homeless programs on Kauai were earmarked for any funds.
On the list were organizations such as Safe Haven, Headway House, Ekolu Group Homes and Kalaeloa Permanent Housing for Veterans with Disabilities.
According to the list of recipients, the majority of the money will go to programs on Oahu, where it is expected to have an impact on its growing homeless problem.
“Federal funding is essential to sustain Hawaii’s momentum in addressing homelessness,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono “These Continuum of Care Grants will support important work being done by organizations across Hawaii.”
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said Hawaii must continue to explore innovative approaches to addressing this longstanding social issue.
“These funds will support those who work hard, every day, to provide services and, most importantly, hope to those without a home,” she said.