STAND. COM. REP. NO. 311

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 881

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-Second State Legislature

Regular Session of 2023

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committees on Housing and Health and Human Services, to which was referred S.B. No. 881 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) Authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority for the development and construction of permanent supportive housing for certain vulnerable individuals; and

 

(2) Require the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) to consider any available federal low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) needed for construction of permanent supportive housing units.

 

Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness; Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation; Hawaii Public Housing Authority; Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center; Highridge Costa Development Company, LLC; Catholic Charities Hawaii; Hope Services Hawaii, Inc; and two individuals. Your Committees received testimony in opposition to this measure from Kobayashi Group, LLC. Your Committees received comments on this measure from Department of Land and Natural Resources.

 

Your Committees find that this measure aligns with the Governor's priorities on homelessness, including an emphasis on creating or acquiring more permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness, and who may need supportive services, once housed. According to testimony from Kobayashi Group, LLC, directing HHFDC to consider allocating LIHTC towards permanent supportive housing under this measure means handcuffing HHFDC's ability to consider and prioritize funding for other much-needed areas of the State, such as housing for households that make thirty to sixty percent of the area median income. Your Committees recognize their concern and note that, during your Committee on Housing's February 2, 2023 hearing on Senate Bill No. 936, Regular Session of 2023, which would have required HHFDC to prioritize the allocation of LIHTC to state-owned development projects, HHFDC testified against the allocation of LIHTC to fund‑specific projects and has reiterated the same concerns for this measure. Nonetheless, your Committees believe that the State must continue to increase investments in housing to address the housing shortage as well as homelessness in the State.

 

Your Committees have amended this measure by:

 

(1) Inserting language upon the recommendation of the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness to use the existing process of homeless verification letters provided by recognized homeless services providers in determining eligibility for the permanent supportive housing units established pursuant to this measure, rather than restricting eligibility to only those who meet the definition of "chronically homeless";

 

(2) Inserting a blank appropriation amount; and

 

(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.

 

Your Committees further note that the Senate Draft 1 of this measure contains an unspecified appropriation amount. Should your Committee on Ways and Means choose to deliberate on this measure, your Committees respectfully request that it consider inserting an appropriation amount of $60,000,000.

 

As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Housing and Health and Human Services that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 881, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 881, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.

 

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

 

________________________________

JOY A. SAN BUENAVENTURA, Chair

 

________________________________

STANLEY CHANG, Chair