State's newest homelessness coordinator pitches idea for ʻOhana Zone incentives
Changes to a bill providing additional support for the state's ʻOhana Zone pilot program could help create more transitional housing for homeless individuals.
A prominent House committee recently passed a version of Senate Bill 1442, which funds the state's homelessness pilot program until 2026.
The funds could be used to fund ʻOhana Zone operations and facility maintenance. It would also create a position to oversee how capital improvement project funds are spent.
Last year, former Gov. David Ige approved another $15 million for ʻOhana Zones until 2026. The pilot program helps houseless individuals transition into permanent housing by providing housing with social and health care services.
According to the state's office on homelessness and housing solutions, there are 16 projects — including 20 sites, that are supported by ʻOhana Zone funding.
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.
James Koshiba, the governor's homelessness coordinator, asked lawmakers to consider amending the measure to include incentives for future ʻOhana Zone developments.
"Should CIP funding for ʻOhana Zone construction be approved, I would suggest that these projects be provided with the same types of incentives offered to other affordable housing projects," Koshiba said.
Koshiba cited incentives private developers can gain from the state's Chapter 201-H law.
"These projects are going to be building, creating housing and space for people at the very bottom of the income scale. And housing that is, therefore, more affordable than even this sort of typical affordable housing project."
The House committee on housing added Koshiba's request into SB 1442, but the measure still needs approval from the House finance committee, and approval from both chambers.