(BIVN) – Dr. Kimo Alameda shared his reaction to the reported homeless decrease during a May 11 Exchange Club event in Hilo.
“Today’s a big day! The data is out,” Alameda told the crowd assembled for a luncheon at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. “I heard ’em this morning. Big Island, 32 percent decrease in homelessness since last year’s count.”
“Yes,” Alameda applauded. “That’s unbelievable. Wow! That’s cause of all the hard work of our partnering agencies including the county.”
Alameda, who is the Hawaii County Executive on Aging, said he participated in a forum on homelessness and aging this Saturday. Much of the discussion involved the need for affordable housing. But Alameda said he had something else to add.
“I said people become homeless not because they ran out of money, initially at least,” he said. “I think they become homeless because they ran out of relationships. Think about it. If I lose my house tomorrow, I get one sister that can take me in. I think anybody in here would say Kimo, I get one extra garage, right?”
“I think when we stop caring and we stop connecting, the result is homelessness,” Alameda added, “and that’s why the idea of supportive housing is super awesome. Because you know, your house not affordable if you’re on drugs. Because that’s not the priority. Your house is not affordable if you get mental health issues and you cannot sustain employment, right? So, in addition to one house, you need that support, and that support come from the community. Us. Not them guys, you know. It’s not Hope Services problem. It’s not the county’s problem. It’s all of our problem. So how do we reconnect with communities so that so that we can end, say, an issue – like homelessness. Well, just keep doing what we’re doing.”
Alameda spoke at the start of the Exchange Club of Hilo “Program of Service” honoring 2017’s Outstanding Individuals and Organizations. Part one of the recognition luncheon, containing Alameda’s full remarks, can be seen in the video below.