STAND. COM. REP. NO. 520
RE: S.B. No. 471
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Human Services and Housing, to which was referred S.B. No. 471 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) Appropriate funds to the outreach program, rapid re-housing program, housing first program, family assessment centers, law enforcement assisted diversion program, and coordinated statewide homelessness initiative; and
(2) Establish and appropriate funds for a short-term rental assistance pilot program and a long-term rental assistance pilot program.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Human Services; Mayor's Office of the County of Hawaii; Hawaii Youth Services Network; Mental Health America of Hawai‘i; Catholic Charities Hawai‘i; Hawaii Kai Homeless Task Force; Our Revolution Hawaii; HOPE Services Hawaii Inc.; Partners In Care; The Salvation Army; O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i; and six individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, Department of Attorney General, and Department of Health.
Your Committees find that homelessness is one of the most pressing problems in Hawaii, which requires a robust, comprehensive, long-term solution to address Hawaii's affordable housing and homelessness crisis. High housing costs continue to drive Hawaii residents into homelessness. Your Committees further find that Hawaii has gradually begun to turn the tide in the homelessness crisis. In 2017, Hawaii's homelessness rate went down for the first time in years, a trend that continued in 2018.
Your Committees recognize that Hawaii must prioritize programs that are the most cost-effective and target the most vulnerable populations, such as outreach, rapid re-housing, housing first, family assessment centers, law-enforcement assisted diversion, and the coordinated statewide homelessness initiative. These programs are critically necessary to address homelessness in Hawaii. The State also needs to experiment in innovative approaches to addressing homelessness, such as providing long-term rent subsidies to the elderly on fixed incomes. This measure will fund core homelessness services and establish a new pilot program for long-term rental assistance care for the elderly to address the State's housing and homelessness crisis.
Your Committees note that this measure establishes a new pilot program for short-term rental assistance for families. However, your Committee Chair learned that the Homeless Programs Office and the Hawaii Public Housing Authority do not have the capacity to implement a new pilot program for short-term rental assistance for families at this time.
Your Committees also note that the funding from the established programs in this measure should go into the base budget of the State, as these programs are all proven to work and are ongoing. This would allow the programs to have stability to plan for the long-term.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Removing language that would have established a short-term rental assistance pilot program for families;
(2) Inserting an appropriation amount of $16,300,000 to the Department of Human Services for the purposes of administering homelessness programs;
(3) Inserting an appropriation amount of $1,700,000 to the Department of Health for the purposes of administering homelessness programs;
(4) Requiring the long-term assistance pilot program to participate in the Continuum of Care's Coordinated Entry System for homeless services;
(5) Requiring the provider of the long-term assistance pilot program to input data into the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's Homeless Management Information System;
(6) Requiring an annual report to the Legislature from the Department of Health regarding the long-term rental assistance pilot program, no later than one month prior to the convening of the regular sessions of 2020, 2021, and 2022;
(7) Specifying a June 30, 2022, sunset date for the long-term assistance pilot program; and
(8) 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 Housing that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 471, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 471, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Human Services and Housing,
STANLEY CHANG, Chair
RUSSELL E. RUDERMAN, Chair