LIHU‘E — Thursday, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced the release of $503,868 to Kaua‘i for houseless initiatives.
The money, part of over $14.2 million in federal funds given to the state, came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the American Rescue Plan.
The money is supposed to provide emergency housing vouchers for over 700 people and families experiencing or have faced homelessness or are escaping dangerous situations like domestic violence, stalking or human trafficking.
“This additional federal money will ensure that families who lost their homes during the pandemic have access to housing, and it will provide crucial assistance for families who are struggling to stay in their homes,” Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a press release. “While we keep working to secure additional federal relief for Hawai‘i, this funding will make a big difference.”
In March 2020, as part of an effort to keep the vulnerable houseless population on the island contained during the COVID-19 pandemic, the county offered five beach parks as a refuge that provided running water, electricity and served as a point of outreach services. The program had offered assistance to over 200 people. As of mid-June, four of these parks have closed.
“We are pleased that this funding will be coming to Kaua‘i and will benefit struggling families who have been greatly affected by the pandemic,” Mayor Derek Kawakami told The Garden Island. “We appreciate the support of Senator Schatz and our congressional leaders in providing this much needed assistance to Kaua‘i residents and our community.”