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300 families housed during the pandemic through the City's O‘ahu Housing Now Program

On February 23, 2022, the City and County of Honolulu's Department of Community Services and its lead agent, Partners in Care, met its goal of housing its 300th household under the O‘ahu Housing Now Rapid Re-Housing program funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act Emergency Solutions Grants program (ESG CV). These 300 households represent 787 individuals.

Utilizing the CARES funding, the O‘ahu Housing Now (OHN) program set a target for itself back in March 2021 to rehouse a minimum of 300 households currently experiencing homelessness. OHN sought to accomplish this ambitious benchmark through a Rapid Rehousing (RRH) approach, which provides short-term rental assistance and supportive services to assist people in obtaining housing quickly, increasing self-sufficiency, and maintain housing.

As CARES Act funding required a nexus to "prepare, prevent, respond to or mitigate" the impacts of COVID-19 on our community, the two main goals of OHN were to:

  • Address the public health crisis of COVID-19 in the community by achieving social distancing through permanent housing, and
  • Improve the rental history of those housed, to increase housing opportunities after households exit the program.

"O‘ahu Housing Now is a vital piece to our housing strategy for Honolulu", said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. "This program afforded the City and its non-profit housing and homelessness partners the ability to reach even more families and individuals experiencing homelessness. O‘ahu Housing Now gave us a chance to address new groups, like the working homeless, and provide them with opportunities to succeed. More importantly, more than half of families housed under OHN were from the most vulnerable COVID-19 populations -- Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Mahalo to the entire OHN team and their partners for their remarkable work."

Anton Krucky, Director of the Department of Community Services, shared, "we are extremely grateful to the efforts of Partners in Care, and its project team of Housing Solutions Inc., who handles the monthly rental payments, and Family Promise of Hawai‘i and Alternative Structures International, who both provide wrap around case management services. We are also very much appreciative of our Congressional Delegation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in providing us with more than $24.8 million in CARES Act Emergency Solutions Grants Program. While this represents more than 34 times the amount of funding we receive annually, we intend to use every penny of it on our people and toward that end have already informed HUD in Honolulu that we will soon be requesting up to a one-year extension on use of these funds in order to do so."

"We so very much appreciate the partnership and working relationship with the Mayor, Anton and the rest of the Department of Community Services," added Executive Director for Partners in Care, Laura E. Thielen. "We set a very ambitious goal for ourselves a year ago and are excited to be able to help these families as much as have been able to do so. In addition to the Blangiardi Administration and HUD, this would not be possible without the generosity and support of our corporate partners and most especially our participating landlords who provide the units to house our clients!"

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