S.C.R. NO.














requesting the LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE BUREAU TO CONDUCT A STUDY EXAmining the efficacy of the hawaii cares program offered by the department of health's behavioral health administration adult mental health division.



     WHEREAS, Oahu has about 4,448 homeless people, twenty-three percent of whom report having mental health issues, and eighteen percent of whom report having a substance use problem; and


     WHEREAS, many of those homeless people have encounters with the police that result in arrest and incarceration when experiencing a behavioral health crisis; and


     WHEREAS, calling the police to intervene when someone is experiencing a behavioral health crisis can be deadly both for law enforcement and community members; in the United States, at least one in four people killed by the police has a serious mental health problem; and


     WHEREAS, a mobile response team comprised of qualified health care professionals would be much more effective than the police in responding to homeless people in distress and others with mental health and/or substance use disorders, and this new approach could save the State millions in incarceration, ambulance, and emergency room costs; and


     WHEREAS, an example of a jurisdiction that has successfully implemented mobile non-violent response teams is the Crisis Assistance Helping out on the Streets (CAHOOTS) Program in Eugene, Oregon, which in 2019, responded to twenty-nine thousand calls, about twenty percent of the city's dispatches, of which only one-half of one percent required police backup; and


     WHEREAS, the CAHOOTS Program reports that it saves the city of Eugene approximately $22,500,000 in public safety, ambulance, and emergency room costs every year; and


     WHEREAS, currently, the Department of Health's Behavioral Health Administration Adult Mental Health Division coordinates crisis services statewide, which comprise an array of options that are accessible by contacting the Hawaii CARES Program, including the State's twenty-four-hour a day, seven days a week behavioral health call center; and


     WHEREAS, when an individual contacts the Hawaii CARES Program and indicates a need for community-based behavioral health support, CARES staff assist the individual by linking them to appropriate crisis services, including crisis mobile outreach, mental health emergency workers, short-term stabilization beds, and twenty-four-hour residential group home placement with specialized programming; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Legislative Reference Bureau is requested to conduct a study examining the efficacy of the Hawaii CARES Program offered by the Department of Health's Behavioral Health Administration Adult Mental Health Division; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the study include the following:


     (1)  A summary of the responses and interventions made by the Hawaii CARES Program during the past five years, including intervention responses to incidents related to mental health, substance abuse, suicide threats, as well as providing conflict resolution and welfare checks on the island of Oahu;


     (2)  Whether any of the responses and interventions listed in subparagraph (1) involved an armed response; and


     (3)  A financial report for the preceding five fiscal years; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in conducting the study, the Legislative Reference Bureau is requested to seek input from the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Honolulu Police Department, and Department of Budget and Finance; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau, Director of Health, Director of Human Services, Chief of Police of the Honolulu Police Department, and Director of Finance.









Report Title: 

Legislative Reference Bureau; Study; Crisis Intervention