The Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons (HONU) program, also known as the Lift Mobile Navigation Center, is a new Ohana Zone funded program on the island of Oahu. The HONU officially launched on Friday, December 13, 2019 at the Waipahu Cultural Garden Park. The HONU later transitioned to Old Stadium Park on March 2, 2020, followed by moves to Keehi Lagoon Beach Park (urban Honolulu), Whitmore Village (Wahiawa), Oneula Beach Park (Ewa), Keeau Beach Park (Makaha), and back to Waipahu Cultural Garden Park and Old Stadium Park. Last year, HONU had expanded to two sites – one in urban Honolulu and one in rural Oahu.
Currently, HONU is located at one location – a State-owned parcel off of Middle Street, near the Nimitz Viaduct. HONU sites will continue to rotate through multiple locations on Oahu for up to a maximum of 90-days at a time. Locations being considered for potential future HONU sites are Waimanalo, Waipahu, Wahiawa, Ewa, and Leeward Oahu. The decisions regarding future locations of the HONU will be determined by the City & County of Honolulu Office of Housing and Homelessness in coordination with the City Department of Community Services.
HONU is a mobile facility that has the capacity to serve up to 50 individuals at one location. The HONU is operated by the City & County of Honolulu Department of Community Services in partnership with the Honolulu Police Department. The goal of the program is to provide 24/7 short-term shelter services, and navigation to connect homeless individuals and families to longer-term shelter and other housing options. HONU also provides a critical tool for law enforcement officers to divert homeless individuals from citation and arrest, and provide the option of short-term shelter and services.
Each HONU site includes beds and hygiene facilities, as well as the access to one meal per day. HONU also provides a space for social service partner organizations to provide on-site services, including assistance with identification, housing navigation, as well as legal and medical services. Social service partners have included the John A. Burns School of Medicine HOME Project, Project Vision Hawaii, Revive + Refresh, the Institute for Human Services, Achieve Zero, Kealahou West Oahu, Helping Hands Hawaii, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.
HONU is one of a number of diversion programs initiated by the Honolulu Police Department to strengthen services for homeless individuals, which also includes Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and the Health, Efficiency and Long-Term Partnerships (HELP) Honolulu program. The efforts of the Honolulu Police Department and other Hawaii law enforcement agencies to partner with homeless services was recently highlighted in a U.S. Interagency Council on Homeless and Council of State Governments joint policy brief on Strengthening Partnerships Between Law Enforcement and Homeless Services Systems.
As of August 2022, the HONU program has transitioned from administration by the Honoluolu Police Department to direct administration by the City Department of Community Services.
To learn more about HONU, please click and view the following links:
REFERRAL INFORMATION: To refer an individual to the HONU, call the 24/7 intake line at (808) 768-4668 to complete a short telephone screening. The phone number is used as the intake line for both HONU sites. Individuals referred to the HONU must be ambulatory and be willing to transition to another emergency or transitional shelter facility at a later date. Please view the Daily Emergency Shelter Vacancy to see the number of available vacancies at HONU.
NOTE: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HONU transitioned to the Provisional Outdoor Screening and Triage (POST) program in April 2020. The POST program was located at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park, with a second ‘Blue Zone’ temporarily located at Lehua Community Park. To learn more about POST, please click on the City & County of Honolulu’s POST informational flyer. As of January 1 2021, the POST has converted back to the original HONU model.
POST Stats (Updated 12/31/20): Between April 7 to December 31, 2020, a total of 810 unsheltered homeless individuals have been served at the POST program during COVID-19.