Oahu homeless veteran reunited with his family on Independence Day
Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, said the program will continue to operate for a time on residual funding.
A key funding source, HLTA’s annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk, was canceled in May. However, Hannemann said if the walk is allowed to be held this November it would create additional funding opportunities for the repatriation program.
Since 2014, the repatriation program has subsidized airfares to send more than 744 homeless people from Oahu, Maui and Kauai back to their families. Hawaii island is eligible for the program, but Hannemann said it has not participated.
So far, Hannemann said only 2% of the homeless individuals flown out of Hawaii returned to the islands.
“This program is part of the toolbox to combat homelessness,” he said. “The state wasn’t in favor of it at first, but we’ve proven that it’s effective. I hope that we’ll be able to come up with additional funding.”