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Safe Haven Is Working To Eradicate Hawaii's Growing Homelessness Crisis

Greg Payton, CEO at Mental Health Kokua, discusses the 'Safe Haven' program, aimed at solving the growing problem of homelessness in Hawaii, where a state of emergency was declared after officials cleared out one of the nation's largest homeless encampments.

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"I guess what's been so inspiring for June and me is the number of people who've come out to really support this."

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Spencer Platt John Moore Oli Scarff Kevork Djansezian
TRANSCRIPT This transcript was generated by AudioBurst technologies

We have a program here in Honolulu from my organization called Safe Haven. And we provide a services for the people who are homeless, the homeless adults with mental illness right down in China town. - That's our mission. The larger mission here right now though is for Partners in Care to align. This is more than thirty nonprofits homeless providers on the island of Oahu who actually are getting together to assist the Mayors challenge to end homelessness for our veterans. - Right. - Having the institutional knowledge, Greg, and seeing where we've been and who we are today, what's your assessment of our progress and what's our greatest challenge when confronting homelessness? - The progress has been truly amazing. I guess what's been so inspiring for June and me is the number of people who've come out to really support this. So, for example, the Association of Realtors that have come out to do this, it's an amazing effort community and nonprofits and government partners. The biggest challenge always is affordable housing. That's always the biggest barrier that we have to ending homelessness. - Right. - Tell us about your role for tomorrow with the Summit and also what you hope to see via accomplished tomorrow Greg. - Well, obviously our accomplishments, we hope that we're going to be able to get some commitments from more landlords out there to be able to dedicate some units to us. There's two part to this. One is, we want to be sure that we can hit the take down target, which is to end homelessness by the end of December. - That's next month, one month away. - And I think we're going to do that. I don't think we have too many concerns about that. The issue then is after you end that, does that mean homelessness is going to be over? Well, of course not. People are still going to have homeless issues. What we want to do is have an inventory of housing so we can place somebody with thirty days once they're identified.