HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1841

TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2014

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO HOMELESSNESS.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. Homelessness is a complex issue that requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach among public, private, nonprofit, and other community stakeholders to provide services and resources to homeless individuals and families, and to prevent homelessness. Act 279, Session Laws of Hawaii 1992, established the Hale Kokua project, a two-year homeless assistance pilot project within the Hawaii housing authority to provide incentives and assistance to private homeowners in the city and county of Honolulu who set aside existing dwelling units, or construct new or improve existing dwelling units, for rental for a period of five years by families or individuals classified as homeless under the project.

Subsequently, Act 167, Session Laws of Hawaii 1998, established the Hale Kokua program within the housing and community development corporation of Hawaii to address the issue of homelessness by providing housing and job-training for the State's homeless population. This homeless assistance program authorized the payment of a state grant and monthly rent supplement to interested property owners who set aside existing rental space or made improvements or constructed adjoining or separate dwelling units to rent the units to families or individuals classified as employed but homeless under the program. The Hale Kokua program was subsequently placed under the Hawaii public housing authority by Act 180, Session Laws of Hawaii 2006; however, the program was later repealed by Act 89, Session Laws of Hawaii 2010.

The legislature finds that homelessness continues to be one of the primary challenges in the State. According to the Homelessness Research Institute, Hawaii has the highest rate of homeless per capita of any state with about forty-five homeless individuals out of every ten thousand.

The purpose of this Act is to assist homeless families and individuals in the State by establishing the Hale Kokua program within the department of human services.

SECTION 2. Chapter 346, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"Part XX. HaLE KOKUA PROGRAM

346- Definitions. As used in this part, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

"Administrator" means the state homeless section administrator.

"Employed but homeless" means any person who is homeless as defined in section 346-361 and:

(1) Is employed at least nineteen hours per week; or

(2) Participates in an employment training program and does volunteer work for a total of nineteen hours per week until employment can be found.

346- Hale Kokua program; established. There is established, within the department, a homeless assistance program known as the Hale Kokua program, to provide incentives and assistance to homeowners throughout the State who set aside existing dwelling units for rental for a period of five years by families or individuals classified as employed but homeless; provided that the family or individual shall be:

(1) Unrelated to the homeowner who sets aside any dwelling unit for rental under this part; and

(2) Registered in the State of Hawaii Homeless Management Information System.

The department shall administer the Hale Kokua program and adopt the standards and framework necessary to implement the program. The program shall be headed by the administrator.

346- Powers and duties. (a) The department may contract with private sector agencies to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the program.

Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, any contracts entered into by the department with a private sector agency pursuant to this subsection shall not be subject to chapters 76 and 89.

(b) The duties of the department or contracted agency shall include:

(1) Carrying out the requirements of the Hale Kokua program under this part;

(2) Developing and adopting the requirements, eligibility, registration, background check, initial screening procedures, and procedures for follow-up after placement to determine the ability to make rental payments and the need for social services and referrals for homeless families and individuals to qualify them as tenants under this program;

(3) Developing and adopting the requirements, which shall include a background check, qualifications, and registration procedures for property owners who provide rental housing to qualified homeless tenants;

(4) Developing appropriate procedures to address potential liabilities of the State;

(5) Adopting procedures to place qualified homeless tenants with property owners participating in the program. Participating property owners shall interview and make final tenant selection from lists of prospective tenants compiled by the department or the contracted agency;

(6) Establishing the procedures and requirements for the disbursement of rental subsidies and the amounts thereof to property owners participating in the program;

(7) Working with the counties to develop and propose uniform incentives to encourage and facilitate the participation of property owners;

(8) Monitoring the financial status and progress of homeless tenants in the program and cooperating with other agencies in establishing and coordinating job training and other programs to help tenants to progress toward self-sufficiency;

(9) Promoting and assisting in the development of employer-employee relationships between homeless tenants and participating property owners including, but not limited to, tenant caretaker, housekeeper, or groundskeeper employment situations;

(10) Working towards seeking financial, in-kind, and administrative assistance from law enforcement and other state and county agencies and the private sector to implement the program;

(11) Working towards securing funding assistance from federal agencies and programs involved in housing development, job-training, or homeless assistance;

(12) Monitoring the progress of the program, and collecting annual statistics showing the numbers of homeless persons, homeless families, and homeless children, using appropriate measurement systems; and

(13) Preparing recommendations to improve and expand the program including but not limited to incentives for participating property owners to sign up for additional terms.

346- Homeowner participation; limitation; payments and assistance. (a) The department shall limit participation to not more than ten property owners within each census tract at any given period in time, without regard to the existence or operation of shelters and other facilities to aid the homeless in the tract. The department or contracted agency shall notify prospective participants registered on the waiting list in each census tract of the opportunity to participate in the program as these opportunities may arise in each tract.

(b) Assistance to any qualified property owner providing rental housing to any homeless tenant under this part for a period of five years shall include at least one of the following:

(1) The payment of a monthly state rent subsidy to supplement the monthly rental payments made by the homeless tenant;

(2) Real property tax rate waivers or reductions proposed by the department and approved by the council of the county in which the property is located; or

(3) Other incentives consistent with the purposes of this part to assist in the participation of property owners under the program.

346- Availability of funding. All rental subsidies and payments allocated by the program under this part shall be subject to the availability of funds."

SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $         or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2014-2015 to:

(1) Establish one full-time equivalent (1.00 FTE) permanent state homeless section administrator in the department of human services to head and oversee the Hale Kokua program;

(2) Implement the Hale Kokua program; and

(3) Carry out the purposes of this Act.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of human services for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval; provided that section 3 shall take effect on July 1, 2014.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Homeless; Hale Kokua Program; Appropriation

 

Description:

Establishes the Hale Kokua Program, within the Department of Human Services to incentivize homeowners statewide to set aside dwelling units for rental by families or individuals classified as employed but homeless. Appropriates funds.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.