The Conversation: Thursday, September 17th 2015

Sep 17, 2015

Executive Director of National Alliance to End Homelessness; Kumu Kahua Theatre Co-existing with Homeless Community; Youth and Family Homelessness; Homelessness in Hawai‘i County

President and CEO of National Alliance to End Homelessness: Nan Roman

If there's one thing we've learned about solutions to homelessness, it's that they’re mitigated by the specific needs of the different faces. Veterans, the mentally ill and substance addicted, families, and youth are just a few of the sub-populations that strategies to end homelessness target. As we continued our series on homelessness from the outside in, we got a perspective from the Washington DC based policy and advocacy group, the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The nonpartisan organization provides data and research to policymakers and elected officials. President and CEO Nan Roman joined the show to give a national perspective on efforts to end homelessness.

  • Intro Music: Vagabonds by Grizfolk
  • Outro Music:  I Need A Roof by The Mighty Diamonds

Kumu Kahua Theatre Co-existing with Homeless Community: Donna Blanchard

Kumu Kahua is a downtown Honolulu Theatre with a longstanding commitment to the community at large and it has found a way to co-exist with a growing homeless population around its Merchant Street facility. It can be a challenge, especially as the downtown numbers grow, but as Kumu Kahua Managing Director Donna Blanchard told us, a community arts organization has a special obligation.

  • Intro Music: Livin' Proof by Group Home
  • Outro Music: Homeless Piano Man by Jim McKee

Youth and Family Homelessness: Mary Li

As in Hawaii, housing costs in Oregon’s Multnomah County have increased in recent years according to the 2015 point in time count, Multnomah County, which includes Portland, has a deficit of 24,845 housing units affordable to the lowest income renters... which often includes families, youth transitioning out of foster care, and youth who, for a variety of reasons, find themselves on the streets. Mary Li is the Director of the Community Services Division and the Community Action Director for Multnomah County and she joined the show via phone to share her thoughts on addressing youth and family homelessness.

  • Intro Music: The Legacy by Group Home
  • Outro Music: Another Day In Paradise by Acker Bilk

Homelessness in Hawai‘i County: Mayor Billy Kenoi

Mayor Billy Kenoi at the Hunger and Homeless Vigil in Hilo in 2010
Credit Baron Sekiya / Mayor's Office, County of Hawai‘i

No one needs to tell Mayor Billy Kenoi that Hawaii Island has the highest rate of poverty, or that since 2013, this year’s point in time count figures show a 123% escalation of homeless people. It’s especially telling to see the number of unsheltered swell to a little over a 1,000 people, while the sheltered population stayed relatively constant at about 200. This week, we’ve been hearing from Hawaii’s mayors, and on today’s program we spoke to Mayor Kenoi via phone about homelessness in Hawai‘i County.

  • Intro Music: My Last Page by Kolohe Kai
  • Outro Music: Just to See the Stars by Bo Napoleon