STAND. COM. REP. NO. 225
RE: S.B. No. 900
Honorable Shan S. Tsutsui
President of the Senate
Twenty-Sixth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2011
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Human Services, to which was referred S.B. No. 900 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HOMELESSNESS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness and to make an appropriation for its administrative expenses.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i, Chancery Office of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Human Services and Catholic Charities Hawai‘i.
Your Committee finds that homelessness is a societal problem that has plagued Hawaii and the nation for many years. Although your Committee believes that great strides have been made in addressing the issue of homelessness, Hawaii has experienced an increase in the number of homeless persons. Homelessness remains a complex issue, and solutions need to involve coordination, planning, implementation, and funding among state and county agencies, non-profit entities, and the federal government.
Your Committee further finds that in June 2010, the cabinet secretaries from the federal Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs joined the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, which comprises nineteen federal agencies to coordinate the nation's housing, health, employment security, education, and human services functions and to create a national partnership between every level of government and the private sector to maximize the effectiveness of the federal government's response in addressing homelessness.
Your Committee additionally finds that the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness unveiled and submitted to the President and Congress the nation's first comprehensive strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness – a plan that the federal government describes as the most far-reaching and ambitious program in history to prevent and end homelessness. Working together with Congress, state and local officials, faith-based and community organizations, and business and philanthropic leaders across the country, the plan will harness public and private resources to build on proven local level innovations.
Your Committee also finds that Hawaii must have in place a mechanism similar to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness to formulate and coordinate a unified plan to address homelessness in all counties and facilitate the acquisition of federal funding for homeless programs. The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness recommends that the states establish such a state agency whether by legislative action or executive order, or both.
Your Committee has heard the concerns regarding the Department of Human Services' ability to effectively administer and implement a statewide interagency council on homelessness and believes this issue merits further discussion by the Committee on Ways and Means.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Amending section 3 of this measure to include designees from the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, Hawaii Community Development Authority, and the Hawai‘i Association of Realtors to serve on the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Human Services that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 900, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 900, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services,
SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND, Chair