Since last month, I’ve received numerous complaints about extremely-large numbers of needles found in Chinatown parks and on school campuses, as well as reports of assaults involving homeless individuals, in our Downtown-Chinatown community. Area legislators and I have held countless meetings with state/county officials, homeless services providers, HPD officers, Department of Health and mental health/substance abuse professionals, and reached out to businesses to identify the most immediate problems and their solutions.
I applaud the State Legislature’s and Ige administration’s recent commitments to expand funding for homeless housing/services, and encourage you and your neighbors to help us do the same!
The following amendments to Bill 14, CD1 (FY 17 Operating Budget) and Bill 15, CD1 (FY 17 CIP Budget), address complaints about the increased numbers of homeless individuals with mental health or substance abuse challenges who congregate in the Downtown/Chinatown area. They include
1.Bill 14, CD1 (FY 17 Operating Budget): Proposed CD2 amendment of $500,000 to“expand the scope of services with homeless services providers with a proven track record of successful housing, treatment and related services for chronically homeless with mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.”
This funding would maintain the level of outreach, housing placement/other mental health services provided by Institute for Human Services and Mental Health Kokua in the Chinatown, Iwilei, Kakaako, and Kapalama neighborhoods during the past fiscal year via City contracts (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016).
2.Bill 14, CD1 (FY 17 Operating Budget): Proposed CD2 amendment of $180,000 to continue Mental Health Kokua’s Safe Haven activity center services. These services supplement its Safe Haven housing program/wrap-around services by offering social rehabilitation, mentoring/peer support and community placement and reintegration.
This funding level will help maintain current activity center services provided in the Downtown-Chinatown and Iwilei neighborhoods by the Safe Haven program.
3.Bill 15, CD1 (FY 17 CIP Budget): Proposed CD2 amendment of $2 million for an Iwilei Hygiene Center with public restrooms, showers and laundry facilities to serve homeless men, women and children and the general public.