Center on the Family publishes 2008 report on users of homeless services

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Sarah Yuan, 956-5939
Center on the Family
Posted: Nov 15, 2008

The Center on the Family at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, in collaboration with the Homeless Programs Branch of the Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority (HPHA), is releasing the third annual report on the users of homeless services. Authored by Sarah Yuan, Subir Kole, and Sylvia Yuen, the Homeless Service Utilization Report: Hawaiʻi 2008 presents demographic characteristics of individuals and households who accessed homeless support services during the 2007 fiscal year for the state and four counties.

The report also provides trend data of the Shelter and Outreach Programs, and the characteristics of shelter service users during the three-year period from 2005 to 2007. The data were collected by the 28 service agencies throughout the state that received HPHA funds and entered client information on the online Homeless Management and Information System (HMIS).

Some highlights of the report:

· During fiscal year 2007, the Shelter Program served 6,733 individuals and the Outreach Program served 6,777 individuals in the state. The majority (75% and 60%, respectively) was served in the City and County of Honolulu.

· Children ages 17 years and younger constituted about one third of the Shelter Program users and one fifth of those served by the Outreach Program.

· Half of the adults who accessed outreach services and almost two fifths of the adults who accessed shelter services were lifetime residents of Hawaiʻi. Less than one fifth of all adults who received homeless services had come to Hawaiʻi within the past 12 months.

· The number of people receiving homeless support services has grown: the Shelter Program served 22% and the Outreach Program served 67% more clients from FY 2005 to 2007. The growth was mainly contributed by new programs in the City and County of Honolulu and Maui County.

· About 28% of Shelter Program users stayed for less than one month, 50% exited within 3 months, and only 6% remained for 18 months or longer.

· The average length of stay for those who used emergency shelter only was 3.2 months, while the average of those who used both emergency and transitional shelters was 10.3 months.

· From FY 2005 to FY 2007, only 27% of those who used emergency shelters went on to stay in longer-term transitional shelters. When they leave the transitional shelters, these individuals appear to have better housing outcomes as about half of them left for a room, apartment or house that they rented or owned, compared to the one fifth who left emergency shelters for the same destinations.

"Data from the Homeless Utilization Report presents a rich profile of the individuals and families living without shelter in Hawaiʻi that is needed in planning programs that address the homeless problem," says Sandra Miyoshi, Director of the Homeless Division, Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority. "So much of the homeless problem is invisible—unless you‘re personally involved with its people and services. This report calls attention to the problem and backs it up with data. That‘s the first step to getting things done." For those working to combat the problem of homelessness on a daily basis, this report will be welcome for the easy accessibility of its important statistics. Among those unfamiliar with the issue, the data will provide significant insights and perhaps dispel a few myths.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and Kids Count, The Annie E. Casey Foundation provided the funding that made the report possible. Copies of the report are available from the Center on the Family, located at 2515 Campus Road, Miller Hall 103, at UH-Mānoa. The report can also be downloaded at


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