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1999 Best Practices
Success Stories

Program Name: Hawaii Continuum of Care
Program Focus: Homelessness
Geographic Area: Pacific/Hawaii
State:     Hawaii  
City:     Honolulu  

Executive Summary
The Hawaii Continuum of Care is a collaborative effort between state and local governments intended to secure funding to assist the homeless population. This effort has been highly successful in improving Hawaii’s ability to meet the needs of its homeless population through service providers.

The situation in Hawaii is unique because each county is an island, and travel between islands is primarily only by air. These ocean boundaries prevent the sharing of resources. Each island has their own Continuum of Care representative, and has its needs addressed independently. Because of this, the smaller islands were largely unsuccessful in securing funding for homeless services.

The local HUD office suggested that a collaborative effort be pursued. The model created was based on a program established by the Kentucky Housing Authority, which they learned about while attending a Best Practices Symposium. Four counties, Maui, Kauai, Honolulu, and Hawaii, partnered to submit an application for funding from HUD for the Continuum of Care. The needs of each county were identified on a local level by agencies and service providers, and the information was used to submit one joint application on behalf of the counties.

Once again, Hawaii’s ocean boundaries came into play, as the distance between communities made collaboration difficult. There was the added challenge that in coordinating community-based evolution of addressing Continuum of Care, some of the counties needed to be brought up to speed, whereas others were well ahead of the game. The difficulty of distance was addressed by implementing a telecommunications system with centers that can be linked to one another. By scheduling frequent talks and visits, and through one-on-one communication with service providers, they were able to coordinate more smoothly the collaboration between the four counties.

The success of the program has been tremendous. The four counties have successfully received funding for their proposals for the past three years, whereas previously independent applications had been unsuccessful. There are currently nine projects underway, and the counties have also been able to exceed the match funds required for the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) program. Furthermore, the collaboration has resulted in a more efficient and effective use of funds, by eliminating the duplication of services. The important activities conducted under the program, including a one-week public awareness program and a statewide homelessness forum, have also been recognized by the local media.

County government of Maui, Kauai, Honolulu and Hawaii

Financing: Various HUD funds

Point of Contact: Sharon Miyashiro, Phone: (808) 587-0680
E-mail: sharyn.miyashiro@hcdch.state.hi.us

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Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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