KALIHI, Hawaii (KHON2) — A new count of Oahu’s homeless population has mixed results.

The count shows that the total number of folks without homes has gone down since the pandemic began, but residents might be seeing more homeless people on the streets.

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The 2022 Point in Time Count showed a drop in Oahu’s total homeless population: 11% since March 2020. It also showed the number of sheltered homeless — like those who stay at the Institute for Human Services (IHS) Women’s and Family Shelter — dropped as well.

“They’re literally out on the streets, on our beaches, in our canals, those kind of things,” said Laura E. Thielen, Partners in Care executive director.

“And I think most people in the community are mostly concerned about the folks that they see every day and that’s who we really want to be able to make a difference for.”

Laura E. Thielen, Partners in Care executive director

Partners in Care is an organization that arranges outreach services and activities for Oahu’s homeless population. The pandemic has hampered their efforts for quite some time.

“We’ve had several programs shut down and due to COVID, there’s COVID restrictions in those congregate shelters,” Thielen said. “It’s been good that we haven’t seen a huge surge in homelessness, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

There is good news, however. Family and veteran homelessness has gone down since 2020. The IHS works directly to get people in shelters and told KHON2 it is about building rapport.

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“And for some people that’s a month, for some people that’s six months, for some people that is literally years of building trust and relationships,” said Jill Wright, IHS community relations director. “And eventually, typically for somebody like that, we can find a place, but it’s just not always a quick match.”