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Study: Sheltered homelessness down but unsheltered rates rise in Maui County

Homelessness in Hawaiʻi. Photo at The Salvation Army on Kamehameha Avenue in Kahului, April 8, 2014, by Wendy Osher.

Sheltered homelessness in Maui County dropped this year compared with previous years, but unsheltered homelessness increased, a new survey shows.

The 2022 Bridging the Gap Point In Time Count, an annual one-night snapshot of homelessness on Neighbor Islands, was released Thursday. 

The federally mandated survey is conducted across the country to better understand the extent and nature of homelessness. For Neighbor Islands, the survey was conducted the night of Jan. 23.

Maui County saw overall homelessness counts decrease 6% — from 789 people in 2020 to 741 this year. Unsheltered homelessness saw a 5% increase, though, with 414 people in 2020 and 436 this year. 

Sheltered homelessness dropped by 19% from 375 people in 2020 to 305 this year. This can largely be attributed to the reduction in congregate space due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, a news release said.

Maui County family homelessness saw a 24% decline, from 83 families in 2020 to 63 this year. 

Also, veteran homelessness decreased 33%, from 48 veterans in 2020 to 32 in 2022. 

The regional summary shows that unsheltered homelessness is most prevalent in Central Maui, with 160 individuals, and Lahaina, with 157 individuals. Kīhei and Upcountry each had 56 individuals. Lower Waiehu had six and Hana had one. 

Highlights of the Neighbor Island figures show that overall homelessness saw a slight increase of less than 1% from 2,010 people in 2020 to 2,022 people this year. Also, family homelessness decreased 18%, from 184 people in 2020 to 151 this year. 

The total number of homeless families as of the count date was 151, the lowest it has been since 2018, according to the news release. This is a 30% reduction in family homelessness over a five-year period.

Other positive highlights include a 32% decrease in youth homelessness, and a 18% decrease in veteran homelessness across the Neighbor Islands.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than $93 million in financial help was distributed by a network of nonprofits in partnership with counties for rent, utilities and mortgage assistance. 

Although the survey doesn’t capture every person experiencing homelessness, it does provide a one-night snapshot of homelessness on Maui, the release said.

Data is analyzed and aggregated for total rural county results. Findings are required and reported in the annual funding application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

For the full study, visit Bridging The Gap’s website.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/04/08/study-sheltered-homelessness-down-but-unsheltered-rates-rise-in-maui-county/

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