To nobody’s surprise, homelessness has increased since last year on Oahu and throughout the state, according to the latest “Point in Time” count released yesterday.
These counts seem to be mostly guesswork since they only include the homeless people seen or accounted for on one night by the people conducting the counts, but they at least provide some basis for comparison.
Overall, the rate of homelessness on Oahu increased slightly, according to the new count. But what’s alarming is that the increase in unsheltered homeless people, the ones who are really out on the street, increased substantially. And the number of sheltered homeless dropped substantially.
In fact, the total number of homeless people has increased on Oahu every year since 2012, according to page 15 of the report. The number of those homeless people on Oahu who are unsheltered has also increased each of those years, from 1,318 in 2012 to 2,173 this year. And the number of sheltered homeless people has decreased on Oahu each year since 2013.
What all that means is that more people are living on the streets of Honolulu and under the bridges and in the parks and on the beaches and everywhere else. And fewer homeless people are finding temporary shelter.
Mayor Caldwell tried to put his best foot forward and emphasized that the good news is that homelessness is not getting worse as quickly as it was before. It’s getting worse, but just a little slower.
Well, that’s one way to look at it.