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Funding proposal for ʻOhana Zones advances at the state Legislature

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State Office on Homelessness and Housing Solutions
ʻOhana Zone funds allowed the County of Hawaiʻi to construct Ka Lamaku, a community of 18 tiny homes in Kailua-Kona at the Old Kona Airport Park.

An effort that would allocate $30 million in funding for a large state homelessness initiative has received lawmaker approval to move forward in the Legislature.

Senate Bill 1442 would allocate funds to the ʻOhana Zones pilot program for the next two fiscal years.

The program began in 2018 under Act 209, which initially appropriated $30 million to provide basic needs for those experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the program promises wrap-around services — such as social and health care services, transportation and transitional housing assistance.

SB 1442's appropriation would tack on $15 million to the allocation from former Gov. David Ige, which was approved last June to extend the program until 2026.

To date, the ʻOhana Zones program has served more than 5,000 people throughout the state and helped more than 1,300 individuals find permanent housing.

According to the State Office on Homelessness and Housing Solutions, there are 16 projects — including 20 sites, that are supported by ʻOhana Zone funding.

SB 1442 goes to the Senate's ways and means committee for further consideration.

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