The Homelessness Coalition of state, county, faith-based and social services organizations is setting its priorities for the upcoming legislative session.
The Hawai’i Interagency Council on Homelessness adopted its 2019Legislative Priorities. The highest cost item at 200-million dollars is funding for low-income housing. Gavin Thornton briefed the Council on the Partners in Care recommendation.
“We’re asking for $200-million for low income housing making that the new baseline and then, investing $75 million of that 200-million over the course of ten years – 750-million – we can provide housing and wrap-around services for the 17-hundred chronically homeless in Hawai’i.”
Thornton says the 10-year investment could save up to 2 billion dollars in emergency medical costs currently being spent on the homeless. Katy Miller, the western regional director for the National Interagency Council, says affordable housing will be integrated into the federal strategy and will be tied to services aimed at ending and preventing homelessness.
“So once someone has gotten into permanent housing, ensuring that they don’t re-enter homelessness and making sure that they’re connected to supports like employment and education to support upward mobility, providing connections to health and behavioral health, healthcare, child-care, school, family support and other resources.”
The Interagency Council also wants to launch pilot programs for rental housing assistance to families and kupuna. The proposed cost is 2 million. Again, Partners in Care representative Thornton.
“Looking at those families that are experiencing homelessness, they have kids in the home, they are working but they are not making enough to afford the rent. So this would provide a relatively shallow subsidy to those families. The other pilot program is focused on kupuna. The idea behind this is that we need to provide them with a long-term subsidy.”
Hawaii Interagency Council Chair and the Governor’s Homelessness Coordinator, Scott Morishige, also asked for funding above and beyond the 15 million dollars for homelessness programs.
“One thing that the Department of Human Services really has been looking closely at is providing support for families transitioning out of homelessness. And one of the things that was identified was the need for after-care services to allow service providers to be able to follow up with the families for at least 6 months after they’re placed into housing.”
The Interagency Council adopted the priorities with a total price tag of 218-million dollars. Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.