STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3177
RE: H.B. No. 2281
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Ninth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2018
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Housing and Human Services, to which was referred H.B. No. 2281, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HOMELESSNESS,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Establish within the Department of Human Services an ohana zones program to provide housing to homeless individuals and families based on principles similar to the housing first program, and appropriate funds for establishment of the program;
(2) Appropriate funds to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority for:
(A) Providing public housing improvements and renovations statewide; and
(B) Administering a state rent supplement pilot program to assist one hundred homeless families with minor children or families with minor children at imminent risk of homelessness due to domestic violence in obtaining and maintaining permanent housing by providing time-limited rental assistance and financial case management services;
(3) Appropriate funds to the Department of Human Services for:
(A) Administering the housing first programs for chronically homeless individuals in the State;
(B) Administering the rapid rehousing program to assist homeless individuals or families in obtaining or maintaining permanent housing or to cover housing stabilization services and administrative costs;
(C) Providing outreach services to homeless persons, including funds for civil legal services; and
(D) Administering Oahu's family assessment center for homeless families; and
(4) Appropriate funds to the Department of Health for administering outreach, counseling, and diversion services for unsheltered homeless persons experiencing substance abuse, including funds to continue the law enforcement assisted diversion pilot program.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Mayor's Office of the County of Hawai‘i, Aloha United Way, The Queen's Health Systems, Community Alliance on Prisons, Pele Lani Farm LLC, IMUAlliance, Hawaii Kai Homeless Task Force, O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and one individual. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Hawaii Public Housing Authority, and Catholic Charities Hawai‘i.
Your Committees find that homelessness is one of the most pressing problems in Hawaii, and a robust, comprehensive solution is needed to increase the pace at which the State is gaining ground on addressing homelessness. For the first time in years, the homelessness rate in Hawaii went down in 2017. Hawaii is turning the tide on the homelessness crisis by investing in proven programs like housing first and rapid rehousing. The network of people and resources engaged in addressing homelessness has begun to make more efficient use of available resources by implementing a data-driven, collaborative process that matches those experiencing homelessness with the services they need to make more efficient use of available resources. However, Hawaii continues to have the highest per capita rate of homelessness of any state in the United States, with an estimated 7,220 people living on the streets and in shelters.
Accordingly, your Committees further find that the State must increase the investment in and commitment to the solution. This measure continues to address the State's homeless crisis by providing a multi-faceted approach using proven interventions that are targeted to the particular characteristics of the population being served and that address the root causes of homelessness.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Adding language that requires dwelling spaces secured under the ohana zones program to cost no more than $15,000 and requires no less than fifty percent of the materials and supplies for the dwelling spaces to be purchased in-state if the dwelling spaces are newly constructed or substantially rehabilitated;
(2) Adopting language suggested by Catholic Charities Hawai‘i that changes the name of the three-year pilot project to be administered by the Hawaii Public Housing Authority from the state rent supplement pilot program to the housing homeless children pilot program;
(3) Adopting language suggested by The Queen's Health Systems that:
(A) Establishes and appropriates funds for an emergency department homelessness assessment pilot program under the Department of Health to:
(i) Place social workers or social worker designees, who are employed by a participating hospital, in the participating hospital's emergency department to identify patients experiencing homelessness or patients at risk of experiencing homelessness;
(ii) Assess the patient's current circumstances; and
(iii) Refer those patients to appropriate and available social services with the goal of reducing costs associated with chronic use of hospital emergency departments; and
(B) Establishes and appropriates funds for a medical respite pilot program under the Department of Health to provide emergency housing for eligible individuals experiencing homelessness discharged from the participating hospital, including but not limited to meals, case management, medical, nursing, and psychiatric care; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Housing and Human Services that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 2281, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 2281, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Housing and Human Services,
JOSH GREEN, Chair
WILL ESPERO, Chair