THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

471

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to homelessness.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds 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.

Over the last fifty years in Hawaii, the number of cost-burdened renters, those paying more than thirty per cent of their income for rent, went from less than a quarter of the population to over half. High housing costs have driven more and more Hawaii residents into homelessness. Hawaii has the highest homelessness rate in the nation.

The legislature further finds that by making smart investments in homelessness and housing, using data-driven practices, and improving coordination, 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. During the Regular Session of 2018, the legislature made unprecedented levels of investment in low-income housing and homelessness, appropriating $200,000,000 for the rental housing revolving fund, $30,000,000 for ohana zones, and $13,500,000 for proven-effective and promising homelessness programs.

To turn back the fifty years of growth in Hawaii's housing and homelessness crisis, investments of this scale must be made consistently in the coming years. 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. The State also needs to experiment with innovative approaches to addressing homelessness, such as:

(1) Providing shallow, short-term rent subsidies to families whose income levels are not sufficient to pay their rent; and

(2) Providing shallow, long-term rent subsidies to kupuna on fixed incomes who face the threat of homelessness due to rapidly rising rents.

The purpose of this Act is to fund core homelessness services and establish new pilot programs to address the State's housing and homelessness crisis.

SECTION 2. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $16,500,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019-2020 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2020-2021 for the department of human services and department of health to fund and administer the outreach program, rapid re-housing program, housing first program, family assessment centers, law enforcement assisted diversion program, and coordinated statewide homelessness initiative.

The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of human services and department of health for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $800,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019-2020 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2020-2021 for the department of human services to establish and administer a short-term rental assistance pilot program to:

(1) Provide time-limited rental assistance to families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless; and

(2) Provide financial case management to individuals and families participating in the program.

The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of human services for the purposes of the short-term rental assistance Act.

SECTION 4. (a) The department of human services may merge the short-term rental assistance pilot program established pursuant to section 3 of this Act with other existing homeless or rental assistance programs, if in the opinion of the department of human services, it is efficient to do so.

(b) The department of human services may establish rules and qualification standards for beneficiaries of the short-term rental assistance program.

SECTION 5. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $1,500,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019-2020 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2020-2021 for the executive office of aging, to establish and administer a long-term rental assistance pilot program to:

(1) Provide long-term rental assistance to individuals who are over the age of sixty who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless;

(2) Ensure that individuals participating in the program will not pay more than fifty per cent of their income for rent; and

(3) Provide housing counseling and landlord assistance to assist elders to obtain and retain permanent housing.

The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of health for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 6. (a) The department of health may merge the long-term rental assistance program established pursuant to section 5 of this Act with other existing programs, if in the opinion of the department of health, it is efficient to do so.

(b) The department of health may establish rules and qualification standards for beneficiaries of the long-term rental assistance program.


SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2019.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Homelessness; Housing; Appropriations

 

Description:

Appropriates 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. Establishes and appropriates funds for a short-term rental assistance pilot program and a long-term rental assistance pilot program.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.