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CITY AWARDS NEARLY $4 MILLION

FOR HOMELESSNESS SERVICES

 

            Mayor Mufi Hannemann today announced that the City and County of Honolulu has awarded nearly $4 million in federal stimulus money to eight local organizations serving the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.

 

Awards were made to:

 

·       Institute for Human Services, $1,100,000;

·       Catholic Charities Hawaii, $973,432;

·       Kalihi-Palama Health Center, $500,000;

·       Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, $219, 840;

·       Helping Hands Hawaii, $500,000;

·       Waikiki Health Center, $180,000;

·       Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, $300,000; and

·       Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, $100,000.

 

Mayor Hannemann said, “At a time when state and private financial support for charitable organizations is declining, I’m gratified that the City was able to use this federal stimulus money to address one of the most significant socio-economic problems facing us.  Providing kokua to low-income individuals or families at risk of becoming homeless, or helping the homeless find shelter and the services they need, will go a long way toward the betterment of our community.”

 

            The mayor also praised City employees for their work, saying, “The federal government is expecting that the stimulus money be put to use promptly.  Thanks to a strong team at the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services and Department of Community Services, we were able to solicit applications, review them, and make the awards in under six weeks.  That’s the kind of efficiency we’re very proud of, and which we expect to see with our other federal stimulus funding projects.”

 

The stimulus money came from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through its Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program.  The City was awarded $4,016,074 in mid-March, with HUD expecting the list of recipients by May 18.  Applicants were evaluated by feasibility of a project; expected benefit to those experiencing homeless or in danger of losing their homes; experience of the agency in providing homelessness prevention or rehousing and stabilization services; and experience in managing government grants.  Seventeen agencies applied.

 

Background and Comments from Recipients

 

The Institute for Human Services distributes rental assistance through Shelter Plus Care grants administered by the City, as well as housing placement funds to clients eligible for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.  The agency operates emergency shelters for homeless men, women, and families and does case management and housing placement.

 

Connie Mitchell, executive director of the Institute for Human Services, said, “The funding will be used to assist working families and individuals who are not yet homeless who may be losing their rentals because of a sudden loss of income.  Most people think of IHS as emergency shelter services.  But this allocation will allow us to continue helping working people who have never set foot inside our shelter walls.  It’s also an opportunity to partner with more agencies like Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Hawaii, Alu Like, and Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii to increase the financial management capacity of many of those who are in need of assistance.  We are thrilled to be part of rebuilding our community in this way!”

 

Catholic Charities Hawaii distributes housing placement funds to clients eligible for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and offers emergency assistance using private donations and Federal Emergency Management Agency money.

 

The Kalihi-Palama Health Center provides case management and health care to persons experiencing homelessness and rental assistance through Shelter Plus Care grants administered by the City.

 

The Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center distributes FEMA funds to Waianae Coast residents, as well as provides outreach, case management, and health care services.  The center has received several Community Development Block Grants from the City for construction of new facilities.

 

Helping Hands Hawaii provides emergency assistance and household goods from private donations to the Community Clearinghouse.  The agency also offers case management and representative payee services.

 

            Brian Schatz, Helping Hands Hawaii CEO, said, “Within the past year, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of families seeking housing assistance.  The [stimulus] program will provide much-needed help for many local families who are on the brink of homelessness by assisting with emergency payments for rent and other essential bills.”

 

The Waikiki Health Center operates the Care-a-Van that takes mobile case management and health care to homeless clients over most of Oahu.

 

Legal Aid Society of Hawaii serves the homeless with a federal grant and manages other funding from federal, state, and county agencies.  It aids low-income families with legal services involving housing, child support, temporary restraining orders, and public assistance.

 

Nalani Fujimori, interim executive director of the Legal Aid Society, said, “This funding will help Legal Aid expand the legal services that it already provides to those facing homelessness and those seeking housing.  Legal Aid’s services can be critical in preserving a Section 8 voucher, helping a family get access to public benefits, or establishing child support, all leading to the stable income needed to maintain housing.  This grant is critical to Legal Aid at a time when general legal services funding is shrinking and key legal needs in areas like housing are growing.  We are very thankful for the support to help deliver vital legal services to the community.”

 

Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii serves low-income families and the homeless with legal assistance through its volunteer attorneys.

 

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Contact:

Bill Brennan, 768-6928