Friday, September 11, 2015
Hawaii Public Radio kicks off week-long conversation on homelessness
by Larry Geller
Hawaii Public Radio is devoting significant broadcast time this coming week to creating a dialogue on housing and homelessness that is very badly needed in Hawaii. Tune in (and if you are the Mayor or a citycouncilperson, listen up): among the guests starting Monday is the leading national expert on Housing First.While Honolulu spends time and money finding and funding temporary shelter for its growing population of homeless, other cities have implemented Housing First and drastically reduced the number of people living on the streets.
Why is Honolulu missing the mark? Why won’t the Star-Advertiser even mention “Housing First” or recognize its success elsewhere? These are good questions.
For answers to what we should be doing, tune in to Hawaii Public Radio’s coverage of the issues starting on Monday at 8 a.m. on The Conversation (HPR-2) and continuing through the week.
In particular, to learn about Housing First, be sure to listen at 8:30 a.m. right after the news for Beth-Ann Kozlovich’s interview with psychologist Dr. Sam Tsemberis, founder of Pathways to Housing. It’s important to understand what Housing First is and how it achieves success in order to understand what Honolulu (and Hawaii) must do to turn around our shameful numbers.
Dr. Tsemberis spoke at a meeting of the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness about two years ago at the invitation of Colin Kippen. His guidance seems to have been ignored. Monday is our chance to re-engage with the evidence-based methodology that should work as well for Hawaii as it has elsewhere. Be sure to tune in.
See these two Washington Post stories:
From the HPR news release:
[Dr. Tsemberis’] simple solution: give homes to the homeless and prioritize those with mental or physical disabilities who have been homeless for longer than a year; his model is known as “housing first.” Post reporter Terrence McCoy wrote, “Late last month, Utah, the latest laboratory for Tsemberis’s models, reported it has nearly eradicated chronic homelessness. Phoenix, an earlier test case, eliminated chronic homelessness among veterans. Then New Orleans housed every homeless veteran.”
Tune in Monday. I’ll post more during the week.