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Governor of Hawaii declares state of emergency to help homeless

Hawaii has the highest rate of homelessness in the United States at about 465 people per 100,000 citizens.

By
Stephen Feller
A homeless encampment under the Hollywood Freeway is dismantled in Los Angeles on August 23. The City of Los Angeles declared a state of emergency in September in order to free up funds to help the homeless, the same as the governor of Hawaii has now done.. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
A homeless encampment under the Hollywood Freeway is dismantled in Los Angeles on August 23. The City of Los Angeles declared a state of emergency in September in order to free up funds to help the homeless, the same as the governor of Hawaii has now done.. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

HONOLULU, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The governor of Hawaii declared a state of emergency to address homelessness, an act that is expected to allow him to direct funds to increase the number of temporary shelters for the homeless and promote longer term homes for them.

The city of Los Angeles did the same thing in September in order to free up funds to help the growing issue of homelessness in that city, according to CNN.

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Hawaii has the highest rate of homelessness in the United States at about 465 people per 100,000 citizens, with a total population of 1.36 million.

"The alarming increase in unsheltered individuals and families over the past two years is particularly significant on O'ahu," said Scott Morishige, the governor's coordinator on homelessness, in a press release. "This proclamation will expedite the state's plans to help these individuals and families to more quickly transition to permanent housing."

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The emergency proclamation will allow for $1.3 million to be spent on about 1000 homeless people through the end of July 2016. Plans include a new transitional facility to help homeless people, though it will not be a permanent facility and will be used only to help ease the current crisis.

Since last August, federal, state and local officials placed 158 people and 25 families in the city of Kaka'ako since last August. Governor David Ige said he hopes to use the efforts as a model going forward.

"The lesson learned is that great things can be accomplished when we all work together," said Governor David Ige, in a press release. "Despite the recent success of enforcement efforts in the Kaka'ako Makai area, homelessness remains a serious issue in every county throughout the state. We plan to replicate the Kaka'ako model as we work to address homelessness in communities across the state."

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