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Coordinator on Homelessness Steps Down, Community Approach to Homelessness Initiative Continues

Marc Alexander

HONOLULU, HAWAII – Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced his Coordinator on Homelessness Marc Alexander has resigned to attend to personal matters but stressed that the plan to end homelessness will continue. Actions to address homelessness which are now being led by the Hawai'i Interagency Council on Homelessness (HICH) will remain on track.

Mr. Alexander’s resignation is effective tomorrow.

“Marc Alexander has done outstanding work as the coordinator in bringing together leaders from throughout the community and this work will continue as a priority. The time has come to put more structure to this effort,” said Governor Abercrombie. “I am pleased that Marc accomplished the coordination aspect of what is now a movement to end homelessness.”

“It has been an honor to work with Governor Abercrombie on establishing this mission.  Homelessness is not a quick fix, we have established short-term and long-term goals and we are making a positive difference in the lives of individuals who need help,” said Mr. Alexander.

With the resignation of Mr. Alexander, Lynn Heirakuji will serve as interim HICH Vice-Chair. Ms. Heirakuji is the Director of the Governor’s Hawai'i Fair Share Initiative and has worked with Mr. Alexander on the 90-Day Plan on Homelessness and the HICH.

In July 2011, Governor Abercrombie signed an executive order that established HICH, a 24-member council comprised of community leaders, state department directors, and federal agency representatives to develop a unified plan on addressing homelessness.

HICH aligns its efforts with the US Interagency Council on Homeless (USICH), established by President Obama in 2009.

Key mandates of the HICH include:

  •      Increasing transitional and permanent housing options
  •      Acquiring increased federal funding to support homeless efforts
  •      Replicating successful initiatives implemented in other states
  •      Increasing the integration of social, health, training, and housing services to reduce duplication among homeless assistance programs

Mr. Alexander was appointed the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness nearly one year ago.  He immediately began coordinating efforts between counties, non-profits, state, and federal agencies to work together on homelessness. Under his leadership, the state launched a 90-Day Plan on homelessness, which outlined key objectives in reducing the number of homeless individuals in the state. At the conclusion of the 90 days, the following achievements were assessed:

  •  More than 200 people from Waikiki and the urban core were moved from emergency shelters or the streets into transitional or permanent housing, including 40 vulnerable individuals. In the Wai'anae area, 85 people were moved into permanent housing. On Maui, 65 people were moved from the streets or shelters into permanent housing. On Kaua'i, 44 people were moved into permanent housing from the streets or shelters. On Hawai'i Island, 136 people were moved into transitional or permanent housing.
  • Next Step Shelter in Kaka'ako expanded its hours to be open for individuals and families on the weekends.
  • The State’s first ever “safe parking” zone program has been implemented by Hope Services Hawai'i in their Hilo shelter, Kihei Pua.
  • Online resources and information were updated, including a “wish list” and “volunteer opportunities” for the public in the various shelters that serve people who are homeless.
  • A statewide homeless hotline system was established and received over 500 calls and emails, and continues to receive calls daily. Through the hotline effort, over 130 were referred into housing resources. The hotline has also served as a means to connect service providers with one another.
  • From August to November 2011, 1,235 people were moved from the streets, emergency shelters, domestic violence shelters, or transitional shelters into transitional or permanent housing. 

“Marc has played a key role in the state’s homelessness initiative,” said Governor Abercrombie. This initiative has always been about collaboration and we now have a strong base to build from.” 

HICH has met twice since its establishment.  Its next meeting will take place sometime in February.

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