Opening of Chinatown JOC

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Patient care at Chinatown JOC

 

Patient care at Chinatown JOC

 

Patient care at Chinatown JOC

 

US surgeon general visit to Chinatown JOC

 

Opening of Kaneohe JOC

 

Groundbreaking for the Kuwili Street hygiene center

H4’s story
Improving health care for Hawaii’s chronic homeless population

The Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hui, or H4, was formed as a public/private partnership, supported by a variety of heath care and social service professionals and philanthropists, to create a new model for meeting the healthcare needs of Hawaii’s chronic homeless population.
H4 was founded by two dedicated physicians with extensive experience in responding to the healthcare needs of the homeless:

  • Josh Green, who worked as an emergency room physician for many years on the Big Island and today serves as Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor.
  • Scott Miscovich, who has many years of experience operating urgent and primary care services in the Kaneohe area.

It is well known that Hawaii has one of the highest rates of homelessness per capita in the nation. But besides lacking stable housing, homeless individuals have woefully inadequate access to health care. Often their only source of treatment is a hospital emergency room, But episodic ER care does not provide continuity or access to preventive services while wasting resources that are needed for true emergencies. H4 seeks to expand access and improve the quality of care for the chronic homeless, while reducing the cost of their care by eliminating unnecessary use of expensive hospital services.

Mission

To care for the people of Hawaii who are struggling the most among us.

Vision

A private/public partnership supported by all healthcare & social service professionals, regional health systems, and philanthropists in Hawaii to create a new model to address chronic homelessness.

Current services

In April of 2018, H4 opened two clinics in urban Honolulu, near concentrations of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals:

  • The Institute for Human Services’ Men’s Shelter, in the Iwilei area
  • Chinatown Joint Outreach Center, adjacent to the police substation in the heart of Chinatown

These clinics are interim locations and will be closed when H4’s permanent location on Kuwili Street opens in 2020. H4 providers are at the Men’s Shelter M-F from 8:00 a.m. to noon, and at the Chinatown JOC M-W-F from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. In August of 2019, H4 opened a satellite clinic to serve homeless individuals in Windward Oahu, covering the area from Hauula to Waimanalo. It operates M-W-F from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Please see ABOUT for more information on the services offered by these H4 clinics and see LOCATIONS for their hours of operation.

Comprehensive health care and housing services for the homeless

The City and County of Honolulu envisions a model of comprehensive services for the homeless in one location, and the City’s Department of Community Services (DCS) has made a previously vacant four-story building at 431 Kuwili Street in Iwilei available for this purpose. The model progresses through four levels of service:

Hygiene

A hygiene center located on the first floor provides an initial point of entry for homeless individuals with general case management, toilets, shower facility, mail, internet, and laundry services. DCS contracted with Mental Health Kokua to operate the first floor hygiene center known as the Punawai Rest Stop.

H4 Healthcare

The second floor will be a full-service urgent care center dedicated to the needs of homeless and other underserved populations. It will operate 24⁄7 and will  provide an array of healthcare services, including mental health and drug treatment, both onsite and through referral.

H4 Medical Respite

When extensive follow-up care is required following an acute episode of illness, the third floor will provide a medical respite service. Patients will stay from a day or two to a few weeks, with case management, medical care and monitoring available in the urgent care center below.

Permanent supportive housing

For patients learning to manage chronic conditions or requiring longer-term follow-up care, the fourth floor offers permanent supportive housing. Social service agencies will help residents in transitioning into the permanent home that best meets their long-term needs. DCS will contract with Steadfast Housing to operate the permanent housing.

DCS is currently renovating the third and fourth floors of the Kuwili Street building.  Completion of their work in early 2020 will pave the way for H4 to open its medical respite service and Steadfast Housing to open its permanent support housing units.  Following this construction, H4 must still build out and equip the second floor to house the urgent care center, so this center will not open until later in 2020.

HOMELESS IN HAWAII

The lack of safe, adequate housing for families in poverty—Hawaii’s most vulnerable citizens—impacts health, safety, and opportunities. H4 provides a safe place for homeless patients while they receive healthcare services and assistance in locating permanent housing.