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MAYOR CARLISLE LAUNCHES NEW EFFORT TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS

(Tues., May 8, 2012)—Mayor Peter Carlisle today announced a new City effort to address homelessness in urban Honolulu by creating specially focused transitional housing. The new Pathways Project is designed to serve homeless people with challenging special needs, such as mental illness, addictions, and physical disabilities.

“Our community has invested considerable effort and resources in addressing homelessness, but there remains a population whose disabilities or chronic conditions make it difficult for them to participate in traditional shelter programs,” Carlisle said. “Through The Pathways Project, the City and a nonprofit homeless service agency will be inviting neighborhoods in urban Honolulu to join in developing a community-based solution to assist those with special needs and reduce the impacts of street homelessness.”

The City has issued a Request for Proposals to invite agencies interested in partnering on the project, and will provide $3.5 million from the City’s Affordable Housing Fund to acquire and/or renovate an existing structure to provide transitional housing to homeless persons with special needs. A specific project site has not been identified. Funds will be awarded to a nonprofit agency that will be responsible for working with neighborhoods in urban Honolulu to obtain a community consensus that The Pathways Project is an acceptable means to address homelessness in their neighborhood. A specific project site will be identified to implement the project only after a positive community consensus has been achieved.

Homeless persons with special needs are among the most visible of Honolulu’s homeless population, with a large population centered in urban Honolulu between Waikiki and Kalihi.  National studies have shown that appropriate transitional shelter programs, specifically designed to serve the unique needs of this population can be successful in transitioning them to long-term housing.

 Proposals from nonprofit agencies should be submitted to the City by May 30, 2012. The City will select an agency in June 2012, and the community planning effort to identify a site will be launched thereafter. Questions regarding The Pathway Project may be directed to Keith Ishida, Executive Director of the Office of Housing at 768-4510.

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Media contact: Louise Kim McCoy, Mayor’s Office, 768-7798.