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Hawai‘i’s Homeless Families Need HousingASAP

Housing increases well-being and self-sufficiency for previously homeless families.

Tackling a Big Problem and Finding Solutions


hildren can’t learn when they go to school hungry, wondering where they will sleep that night and fearful that they are in danger. They can’t dream about their future when they have no place to call home. In 2014, before Hawai‘i’s homeless crisis became front-page news, Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) decided to do something— bring together the organizations and nonprofits working to help homeless families and create a network, an umbrella under which these groups could move swiftly and get families the help they needed. HCF figured that if the organizations providing a large number of beds to homeless families around the state could come together, communicate, share best practices, and learn together, things might happen a bit more quickly. Maybe some of those families could get off the streets and into a home. Maybe those children could go to bed at night with a full belly and a chance to dream.

It worked. Just two and a half years after the launch of HousingASAP, 714 homeless families (more than 2,100 individuals) now go to bed every night in their own homes. Statewide, homeless families decreased by 17% from 2016 to 2017, the first time that number has gone down in years. By December 2018, the goal is to place all homeless families into a permanent home within 30 days, a rate the experts call “functional zero.” “That’s the greatest reward,” says HOPE Services CEO Brandee Menino, “knowing that we are touching families’ lives and making a difference.” Once they’re off the streets, these families can focus on what happened that led to their homelessness, perhaps drug use or mental health issues. “We find the family unit grows so much stronger,” she says. Bringing the players together, opening the communications channels, putting resources to work to make it happen, and strengthening Hawai‘i families— that’s HousingASAP. And that’s the big promise of little things.

To learn more about the HousingASAP network visit

“That’s the greatest reward, knowing that we are touching families’ lives and making a difference.” - BRANDEE MENINO, HOPE SERVICES CEO

Did You Know... HousingASAP was one of the first large collaborations HCF undertook, bringing together twelve funders to address the issue and work with the eight organizations in the field. That’s the power of HCF—addressing complex problems by bringing together the resources, the expertise, and the funding to make a meaningful difference in the community.

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