STAND. COM. REP. NO. 368

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 1051

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2019

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committees on Human Services and Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 1051 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS WITH SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS,"

 

beg leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to:

 

(1) Require the Department of Human Services, in consultation with the Department of Health, to establish a pilot project to provide shelter and mental health treatment for homeless individuals with severe mental illness or severe co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders who are subject to court-ordered assisted community treatment or court-ordered guardianship;

 

(2) Establish requirements for the pilot project, including requirements for placement in the pilot project;

 

(3) Require reports to the legislature; and

 

(4) Appropriate funds for the pilot project.

 

Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Kai Homeless Task Force, Hawaii Substance Abuse Coalition, Mental Health America of Hawaii, Catholic Charities Hawaii, Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Partners In Care, and three individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, Department of Human Services, Department of Health, and Office of the Public Guardian.

 

Your Committees find that the State has a gap in services for homeless individuals with severe mental illness or severe co‑occurring mental illness and substance use disorders, as these individuals often cycle between homelessness, emergency room treatment, incarceration, and hospitalization. Individuals with severe mental illness or severe co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders typically become chronically homeless and further burden the health care system through excessive use of expensive emergency department, inpatient treatment, and crisis services. Due to their mental illness, these individuals routinely reject offered services and remain on the street, putting themselves at risk of further injury and creating a significant burden on the communities where they reside. This measure therefore establishes a pilot program that will operate a facility to provide shelter and mental health treatment to homeless individuals with severe mental illness or severe co‑occurring mental illness and substance use disorders.

 

Your Committees note that various state agencies have expressed in testimony the importance and need for programs that will allow homeless individuals with severe mental illness or severe co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders to receive treatment while living in a safe and supportive environment. The agencies that will likely be impacted by this measure have expressed willingness to work toward a solution to address this need. However, the agencies have concerns regarding its implementation and suggest that more time and planning is needed at this time. Your Committees agree with these concerns and conclude that it is appropriate to establish a task force as a necessary first step, prior to the implementation of the task force proposed by this measure.

 

Accordingly, your Committees have amended this measure by:

 

(1) Establishing a task force to determine specific implementation requirements necessary to establish a pilot program intended to provide shelter and mental health treatment for homeless individuals with severe mental illness or severe co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders who are subject to court-ordered guardianship;

 

(2) Requiring the task force to consider specific implementation concerns and any requirements necessary for a pilot program;

 

(3) Specifying the membership on the task force, deadline for any recommendations and proposed legislation by the task force, and date of dissolution;

 

(4) Removing language that would have required the Departments of Human Services and Health to establish a three-year pilot project to provide shelter and mental health treatment for homeless individuals with severe mental illness or severe co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders who are subject to court-ordered assisted community treatment or court-ordered guardianship;

 

(5) Changing the appropriation from $600,000 for fiscal years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 to an unspecified amount; and

 

(6) 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 Human Services and Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1051, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1051, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means.

 


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Human Services and Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,

 

________________________________

ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair

 

________________________________

RUSSELL E. RUDERMAN, Chair