STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2126

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 2401

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2018

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committees on Housing, Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, and Human Services, to which was referred S.B. No. 2401 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 and appropriate funds for a three-year pilot program to assist families with minors who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to obtain permanent housing; and

 

(2) Appropriate funds to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, Department of Human Services, and Department of Health to support the State's most effective programs to end homelessness, including public housing improvements and renovations statewide, housing first, rapid rehousing, outreach services programs to homeless persons, including civil legal services, Oahu's family assessment center, and the law enforcement assisted diversion (LEAD) program.

 

Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, Department of Human Services, Hawaii Public Housing Authority, Hawaii Youth Services Network, Hawaii Pacific Health, Hawaii Kai Homeless Task Force, Hoomanapono Political Action Committee, Catholic Charities Hawaii, Partners in Care, Aloha United Way, Project Vision Hawaii, Hawaii Substance Abuse Coalition, PHOCUSED, Young Progressives Demanding Action, Mental Health America of Hawaii, The CHOW Project, Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, and twenty-one individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Health.

 

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) Adopting the language suggested by Catholic Charities Hawaii that:

 

(A) Changes the name of the three-year pilot project to be administered by the Hawaii Public Housing Authority from the state rental assistance program to the housing homeless children pilot program, and clarifies that the purpose of the pilot program is to assist families with minors, or those families with minors at imminent risk of homelessness due to domestic violence, to obtain and maintain permanent housing;

 

(B) Removes the requirements that the pilot program serve one hundred qualified families and provide time-limited rental assistance up to $500 per month, to allow flexibility for the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to meet the individual needs of the families served by the pilot program; and

 

(C) Authorizes the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to develop interim rules without regard to chapter 91, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to enable immediate implementation of the pilot program;

 

(2) Adopting the language suggested by the Hawaii Youth Services Network that inserts language to dedicate, of the $2,200,000 appropriated for the Department of Human Services to continue to administer the outreach services program to homeless persons, $300,000 for outreach services to runaway and homeless youth, in addition to the $310,000 dedicated for civil legal services;

 

(3) Adopting the language suggested by the Hawaii Substance Abuse Coalition that:

 

(A) Inserts clarifying language in section 1 under the principles of housing first programs regarding embracing harm-reduction approaches to addictions; and

 

(B) Inserts language to clarify that the $1,000,000 appropriation for the Department of Health to continue to administer homeless outreach, counseling, and diversion for unsheltered persons experiencing substance abuse includes professional case managers who employ basic core competencies for substance abuse treatment; 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, Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, and Human Services that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2401, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2401, 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, Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, and Human Services,

 

________________________________

ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair

 

________________________________

WILL ESPERO, Chair

 

 

________________________________

JOSH GREEN, Chair