STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2153
RE: S.B. No. 3235
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2022
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Human Services, to which was referred S.B. No. 3235 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO SAFE SPACES FOR YOUTH PILOT PROGRAM,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish a Safe Spaces for Youth Pilot Program, an inter-agency initiative to provide safe spaces for youth experiencing homelessness in each county.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of the Public Defender; Hawaii Youth Services Network; Opportunity Youth Action Hui; Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Stonewall Caucus; and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, Department of Human Services, and Department of Budget and Finance.
Your Committee finds that nearly half of Hawaii's juvenile arrests are for status offenses, such as running away from home or truancy, caused by untreated mental health and substance abuse needs; abuse, violence or bullying; or other reasons that are not best resolved by a law enforcement approach.
Your Committee further finds that runaway and homeless youth are vulnerable to multiple risks, including lack of basic food and shelter, untreated mental health disorders, substance use, disruptions in their education, sexually transmitted diseases and human immunodeficiency virus infection, sexual exploitation, physical victimization, and suicide. Your Committee believes these young people need to be offered a safe place within their community where they can seek help, rather than be arrested and become subject to judicial proceedings. Your Committee finds that the Safe Spaces for Youth Pilot Program established under this measure will provide the needed space and help to the youth in each county.
Your Committee has reviewed the testimony of the Department of Budget and Finance expressing concerns regarding this measure's possible effect on the State's obligation to adhere to the maintenance of effort requirements as a recipient of Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief funds under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Recovery Plan Act of 2021. Your Committee finds that this issue raises concerns that merit further consideration and respectfully requests that your Committee on Ways and Means further examine those issues and concerns raised by the testimony.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Human Services that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 3235 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services,
JOY A. SAN BUENAVENTURA, Chair