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COVID-19 Homeless System Response: Honolulu Housing Fair


Date Published: November 2021


Housing fairs are concentrated, time-limited efforts that bring together multiple community partners with the goal of quickly housing a large number of people in a short time. During an on-site housing fair, staff from multiple agencies work together to get clients enrolled in Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) and housing programs, collect documents, and identify and apply for a housing unit (typically from a pool of units identified prior to the start of the fair), all in the same day. Preparing for and implementing housing fairs builds a sense of urgency and excitement among partners and clients, and often helps to dramatically shorten the time between when a client is referred to a housing program and when they lease up in their new home.

O'ahu Housing Now (OHN) is a multi-agency project in the City and County of Honolulu, Hawai'i, that is using a series of housing fairs to work towards a goal of housing 300 households experiencing homelessness over a period of six months. OHN brings together local government, the Continuum of Care (CoC), two service providers offering case management, and a provider managing rental payments to utilize Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds to provide rapid rehousing (RRH) to households prioritized by the local coordinated entry system (CES).

The following video shows highlights from the first O'ahu Housing Now housing fair, which took place in early May 2021 in Honolulu, Hawai'i. In this video, viewers see:

  • Footage from the preparation, implementation, and follow up to the first Honolulu Housing Fair, held in May 2021 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic (recorded with the written permission of all individuals that appear in the video)
  • An example of a workflow for an in-person housing fair (OHN's included Check In, Waiting Area, HMIS/Program Enrollment, Housing Unit Selection and Application, and Next Steps)
  • The work done locally to collect donations and assemble move-in kits for each newly housed individual or family
  • The joy and excitement of move-in days for some of the households that participated in the housing fair

Visit the Disease Risks and Homelessness page on the HUD Exchange for a full list of resources related to COVID-19 infectious disease prevention and response for homeless providers.

The contents of these materials, except when based on statutory or regulatory authority or law, do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. These materials are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

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