STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1112
RE: H.B. No. 1281
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. 1281, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HOMELESSNESS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Establish and appropriate funds for a three-year Work-for-a-Day pilot program that provides homeless individuals with work opportunities and connects them with service providers; and
(2) Require the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness to submit a report to the Legislature prior to the 2018 Regular Session on implementing the pilot program.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of the Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i, Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, Hawaii Youth Services Network, Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, and two individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, Department of Human Services, and The Institute for Human Services.
Your Committee finds that homelessness continues to be one of the State's most significant and challenging social problems. According to the 2016 Hawaii Statewide Homeless Point-In-Time conducted in January 2016, there are 7,921 homeless individuals in the State, an overall increase of four percent from 2015.
Your Committee further finds that pilot programs throughout the United States provide homeless individuals with temporary work while providing easy access to services. A pilot program launched in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has received national attention, as the program connects homeless individuals with work cleaning up public spaces and is proving to be a success. In Hawaii, some service providers already assist homeless individuals with temporary work. However, those programs are limited to small areas, and thus are not available to the vast majority of homeless individuals in communities throughout the State. Introducing a pilot program that provides homeless individuals with work opportunities, while connecting them with service providers, mutually benefits the homeless individuals and the local community.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Referencing the pilot program as a "homeless employment pilot program" rather than a "work-for-a-day pilot program";
(2) Clarifying that the intent of the homeless employment pilot program is to, among other things, assist homeless individuals with a path to employment in the general workforce and pre-vocational training for those who require such a transition and allow homeless individuals who face barriers and stigmas based on their background to seek employment opportunities;
(3) Specifying that the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, rather than the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, shall administer the homeless employment pilot program;
(4) Clarifying that the homeless employment program shall qualify homeless individuals for and connect them to housing programs;
(5) Specifying that the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, rather than the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, shall submit a report on the progress of the homeless employment pilot program to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the Regular Session of 2018;
(6) Specifying that the expending agency of the appropriation to establish the homeless employment pilot program shall be the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations rather than the Department of Human Services;
(7) Inserting language that:
(A) Requires and appropriates funds for the Auditor to conduct a study to assess the impact of using Medicaid funds to provide coverage for the treatment for homelessness and submit a report to the Legislature; and
(B) Requires and appropriates funds for the Department of Human Services, in collaboration with the Department of Health, to review the progress of the Hawaii pathways project pilot and continue to pursue efforts to utilize Medicaid to provide supportive housing services for chronically homeless individuals and submit a report of its findings to the Legislature; and
(8) 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 H.B. No. 1281, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1281, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Judiciary and Labor and Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services,
JOSH GREEN, Chair