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The Conversation: What is Community's Responsibility When Dealing with Homeless?

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In West Hawaii this month, close to 150 people turned out at a meeting to express their frustration at the response by officials to deal with homeless complaints.  On Maui the annual Point in Time count showed a slight decline, but on Kauai the numbers appear to have skyrocketed.  What’s a community to do? On the Big Island some business have suggested taking matters into their own hands.  

Today we sit down to talk about the homelessness situation on the neighbor islands and the role communities play in finding solutions.  Our guests are: 

  • Jillian Okamoto, Division Administrator for Housing Assistance and Referral Programs for  Catholic Charities Hawaii.
  • Brandee Menino, Chief Executive Officer of Hope Services Hawaii and Chair of Bridging the Gap, a coalition of agencies working to end homelessness on the neighbor islands.
  • and Maude Cumming, Executive Director of the Family Life Center, Maui’s primary homeless outreach agency and previous chair of Bridging the Gap.

Catherine Cruz is the Host of The Conversation and a member of HPR’s news team. She has been a television reporter in Hawai‘i since 1983 and has won a number of awards and respect from a statewide audience. She spent more than thirty years at KITV, covering beats from government to education and health. Originally from Guam, Cruz is also a co-founder and former Board member and programming chair of Pacific Islanders in Communication (PIC). Catherine is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
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