Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 2535

       S.D. 1




Honorable Donna Mercado Kim

President of the Senate

Twenty-Seventh State Legislature

Regular Session of 2014

State of Hawaii




     Your Committees on Human Services and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 2535 entitled:




beg leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


     (1)  Appropriate funds to the Department of Health for substance abuse treatment, mental health support services, and clean and sober housing services;


     (2)  Appropriate funds for a rental assistance program;


     (3)  Appropriate funds to the Department of Human Services to continue to administer Housing First programs for chronically homeless individuals and reestablish the homeless prevention and rapid re-housing program;


     (4)  Appropriate matching funds for the federal continuum of care permanent supportive housing programs to provide rental assistance in connection with supportive services;


     (5)  Appropriate funds for innovative temporary housing solutions related to the homeless assistance working group's findings and recommendations; and


     (6)  Transfer the homeless assistance working group from the Department of Human Services to the Legislature.


     Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Human Services; City Council, City and County of Honolulu; Catholic Charities Hawaii; Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice; PHOCUSED; Kauai Community Alliance; Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery; Waikiki Health; Community Alliance for Mental Health; Partners in Care; Hawaii Primary Care Association; Witt Counseling Service; and one individual.  Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Health and one individual.


     Your Committees find that homelessness is a complex and growing challenge in Hawaii, and that addressing the issue requires a multi-faceted approach.  Your Committees recognize that stable housing is a critical component in the continuum of substance abuse treatment and recovery.  In addition, it is important to assist homeless families and those in transitional housing that seek permanent rental housing by providing rent subsidies that make permanent housing affordable.


     Your Committees further find that Housing First programs are essential to moving chronically homeless individuals into permanent housing with wrap-around services.  Your Committees note their support of the request in the Executive Supplemental Budget submitted by the Governor for $1,500,000 for continuation of the Housing First program.


     Your Committees also find that providing matching funds for federally funded continuum of care permanent supportive housing programs would enable over six hundred disabled homeless to be re-integrated into the community and maintain housing.  Finally, your Committees note the value of innovative temporary housing solutions.


     Your Committees have amended this measure by 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 Health that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2535, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2535, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.


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