Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    H.B. No. 844

       H.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2017

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Human Services, to which was referred H.B. No. 844, H.D. 1, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


     (1)  Require the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a two-year Safe Places for Youth pilot program in partnership with private organizations to establish a network of safe places that youth can access for safety and to obtain advice, guidance, programs, and services; and


     (2)  Establish and appropriate funds for a coordinator position and for residential options for the pilot program.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Judiciary, Hawaii Youth Services Network, Hawaii Women's Coalition, Community Alliance on Prisons, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, Hawaii Chapter of the Young Progressives Demanding Action, and three individuals.  Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Office of Youth Services.


     Your Committee finds that, nationally, it is estimated that on any given night, there are approximately 1,300,000 homeless youth living unsupervised on the streets, in abandoned buildings, with friends or with strangers.  Homeless youth lack parental, foster, or institutional care and are thus prone to be at a higher risk for physical abuse, sexual exploitation, mental health disabilities, substance abuse, and death.  A 2016 National Conference of State Legislatures article indicates that studies have shown that forty-six percent of runaway and homeless youth reported being physically abused, thirty-eight percent reported being emotionally abused, and seventeen percent reported being forced into unwanted sexual activity by a family or household member.  Furthermore, seventy-five percent of homeless or runaway youth have dropped out or will drop out of school.  Because Hawaii is not immune to the seriousness and prevalence of youth homelessness, it is critical that the State establish safe places that offer shelter, programs, and support to at-risk youth.


     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 H.B. No. 844, H.D. 1, and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services,