Homing In On the Homeless

In recent years, the problem of homeless encampments in urban and rural areas of Hawai‘i has grown, with efforts to address it by various county and state agencies often seeming fractured and uncoordinated. In a recent briefing to the Board of Land and Natural Resources, however, the affected agencies of the Department of Land and Natural Resources explained just
how intractable – and expensive – homeless encampments on state land have become.

As board chair Suzanne Case commented, her staff is to be commended – and especially homeless coordinator, Pua Aiu – for efforts to begin developing a coordinated approach to dealing with it. Just how far those efforts can go, with staff stretched thin and resources directed elsewhere, remains to be seen.

But getting a grasp on the scope of the problem is a much needed first step toward addressing it.