A new state Coordinator on Homelessness, Colin Kippen, has been appointed by the governor.
Kippen, 62, is a former executive with the Office of Hawiian Affairs and most recently was the executive director of the National Indian Education Association in Washington, D.C.
“He has come home to Hawaii after serving the country’s native communities and brings a fresh perspective in our fight against homelessness,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in announcing the appointment.
“What we will do is we will find solutions,” said Kipness, emphasizing the need for cooperation among public and private agencies that deal with homelessness.
Abercrombie also signed into law a bill establishing the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness within the Department of Human Services.
The council was first created by executive order last year and is made of 24 members drawn from state and federal agencies and community organizations.
It is preparing a final strategic plan to address homelessness on a variety of fronts, including, housing, health and economic stability.
A draft copy of the plan is available here.
Abercrombie said in a news conference today that service providers and government agencies moved more than 1,000 homeless individuals off the streets and into shelters through the first four months of this year.
Lynn Heirakuji, interim vice chair of the Interagency Council, said those numbers represent “a dramatic increase” over the same period a year ago.
Kippen begins work June 25.
He replaces Marc Alexander, the former Homelessness Coordinator, who resigned in January.