The first Ohana Zone project on Hawaii Island – Keolahou Assessment Center – opened at the site of the Old Hilo Hospital building in October 2019.
In 2018, the Hawaii State Legislature passed Act 209, which appropriated $30 million in ‘Ohana Zone funds to address homelessness statewide. In 2019, the Legislature passed Act 128, which appropriated an additional $2 million for `Ohana Zones. Acts 209 and 128 require that projects receiving `Ohana Zone funds have a connection to state and county land, and that projects provide services to assist homeless individuals and families to access permanent housing. A minimum of six projects were required to be developed with these funds – three (3) sites on Oahu, and one (1) site each on Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Island.
As described in Act 209, “Ohana zones will have the goal of improving the health and well-being of individuals experiencing homelessness and providing access to needed services. The use of the term ohana is not meant to suggest that the use of an ohana zone is limited to nuclear families or people related by blood, but rather that an ohana zone provides a welcoming, safe haven where individuals experiencing homelessness and those who serve them treat each other as an extended family.”
The State of Hawaii awarded `Ohana Zone funded contracts through the Hawaii Department of Human Services, Department of Health, Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation, and Office of Youth Services. In addition, a number of contracts are in partnership with the four counties to ensure that funding addresses areas of local concern. A total of 16 projects including 20 different sites are supported by `Ohana Zone funding – exceeding the minimum number of sites required by Act 209.
As of September 30, 2021, Ohana Zone programs have served 5,067 individuals statewide, and placed 1,29 individuals into permanent housing. The program has also preserved 358 beds/units statewide, and added 469 new beds/units in shelter and housing inventory.
Recently launched Ohana Zone programs include:
For an October 2021 update on the status of the Ohana Zone pilot program, click HERE.
A complete listing of `Ohana Zone funded projects is provided below.