“What you always do before you make a decision is consult. The best public policy is made when you are listening to people who are going to be impacted. Then, once a policy is determined, you call on them to help you sell it.”
— Elizabeth Dole

"People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes." - Sheila McKechnie

News - 27 May 2023

Georgia wins put Schumer in control of Senate, Democrats in charge of committee agenda
The double wins in Georgia put Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in charge of the Senate with the slimmest of majorities, in a big boost to President-elect Joe Biden's agenda. More
Elaine Chao to resign as transportation secretary in wake of riot
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is resigning, a White House official and a person familiar with the situation tell CNN. More
After Capitol riots, AOC demands Cruz, Hawley resign from the Senate
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigns after Capitol rioting
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced Thursday that she is stepping down from her post, a day after the rioting on Capitol Hill -- making her the latest member of the administration to resign over Trump’s conduct, and the first Cabinet member to do so. More
West Virginia lawmaker under pressure to resign after recording himself storming the US Capitol
A Republican lawmaker from West Virginia is being pressured to resign after posting and then deleting a video from social media of himself storming the nation's Capitol building Wednesday with hundreds of other pro-Trump protesters.  More

Homelessness in America:
Addressing Increasing Rates, Marginalization of Minority Groups and Structural Issues

Key Speakers

Chris Kolerok, Director of Public Policy at Cook Inlet Housing Authority
Laura Cox-Wilson, Director of Supportive Housing at NeighborWorks Alaska
Tami Truett Jerue, Executive Director of Alaska Native Women's Resource Center
James Koshiba, Co-Founder of Hui Aloha and Supporter of Puuhonua O Waianae

This event was held on Thursday, May 19th 2022.


In the United States, housing is about “five million units short” of providing shelter for its population and “seven million” short in affordable housing for lower-income households. Rising homelessness per capita is seen throughout America, with New York, California, and other thought of states at the top. However, one surprising state facing a homelessness epidemic right now is Hawai’i. Native Hawaiians experience the most amount of homelessness in the American population by race/ethnicity (National Alliance to End Homelessness). The second minority group that is often overlooked is American Indian/Alaska Native. American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people are all at high risk for conditions that lead to and/or sustain homelessness, including disproportionately high rates of poverty, domestic and other violence, and behavioral health disorders”. On top of that, about “one in five” people living on tribal lands is considered to be in an overcrowded area, also known as “near homelessness”. Many struggling families in America can reach out to other family members for help, but among the American Indian, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians, they are often reaching out to other struggling family members that may also be facing these conditions.

In response, the government and Lt. Governor Josh Green are working on different projects and initiatives such as Kauhale, Hawaii homeless healthcare Hui (H4), joint outreach centers, permanent supportive housing, and assisted community treatment. Looking into these projects and initiatives can help examine what the underlying structural issues of racial inequality and homelessness are and point out different areas for discussion in public policy.

On a wider level, statistics show that homelessness levels have increased due to the economic, social and health implications of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. The National Low Income Housing Coalition started #RentReliefNow due to rental issues that worsened as a result of COVID. This pushed for the creation and passing of the American Rescue Plan Act, which has now "secured nearly $85 billion in emergency housing and homelessness assistance since the start of the pandemic through the American Rescue Plan Act, the December COVID-19 relief bill, and the CARES Act." Emergency rental assistance and strong enforcement of the federal eviction moratorium are also called for and still being worked through by those involved in homelessness efforts as well as working through the best usage of money given through these acts. 

This timely symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for case managers, social workers, community outreach specialists, veterans and housing advocates and other key stakeholders to discuss latest developments, assess progress, challenges and consider next steps in tackling homelessness across the USA. In the absence a one-size fits all solution, it is vitally important to promote commitment and collaboration to ensure that all individuals experiencing homelessness in the country receive the support they need. 



  • Discuss Hawaii’s initiatives to combat homelessness
  • Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, and American Indian disparities and how to assess the differences in homelessness per racial/ethnic group
  • Evaluate income disparities in correlation to costs of living in different states
  • Review the expansion of Medicaid and its impacts on curbing homelessness
  • Discuss affordable housing initiatives
  • Assess renter protections and eviction moratoriums at the state and local levels
  • Examine Emergency Rental Assistance programs
  • Tackle homelessness in numbers versus homelessness per capita
  • Look into high costs of living versus minimum wage issues
  • Discuss whether Hawaii’s efforts could be a good example of spending money to save money
  • Address lack of available housing for population in America
  • Learn the best ways to work on Housing First initiatives
  • Understand underlying structural issues that make mental illness, addictions, etc. harder to combat, further promoting homelessness
  • Analyze the disproportionate rates of minority group homelessness
  • Read into the underlying structural issues working against certain minority groups and the general population
  • Look into factors that lead to increased risks for overcrowded living and homelessness

Who Should Attend?

  • Department of Health and Human Services

  • Homeless services authorities

  • Housing and community investment departments

  • Affordable housing developers

  • Public housing authorities

  • Directors of housing operations

  • Directors of housing development

  • Family housing agencies

  • Directors of homeless services

  • Directors of residential services

  • Case managers (homeless services)

  • Shelter case managers

  • Shelter monitors

  • Social workers

  • Community outreach specialists

  • Community health workers

  • Housing advocates

  • Housing stabilization specialists

  • Peer housing navigators

  • Housing locators

  • Relocation service managers/caseworkers

  • Benefits advocates

  • Homeless coalition managers

  • Student homelessness liaisons

  • Community programs advocates

  • Family service coordinators

  • Family care coordinators

  • Emergency relief counselors

  • Housing counselors

  • Mental health clinicians/ Specialists

  • Treatment/Substance abuse specialists

  • Public health managers/Administrators

  • Real estate professionals

  • City council representatives

  • City Managers

  • City & Urban Planners

  • County representatives

  • Special interest groups

  • Non-profit organizations

  • Faith-based and interfaith organizations

  • Healthcare professionals

  • Native Hawaiian / Indigenous Polynesian advocacy groups
  • Native Alaskan advocacy groups
  • Researchers and academics
This event was held on Thursday, May 19th 2022.

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