Hawaii Council on Homelessness: Abercrombie says action, results are a focus

Hawaii Independent Staff

HONOLULU—Last week, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed an executive order that establishes the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness (HICH). The 24-member council—composed of State department directors, federal agency representatives, and community leaders—is tasked with developing a unified plan on addressing homelessness.

The creation of the Council was first announced in May by the Governor and Marc Alexander, the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness, as an important part of the State’s 90-Day Plan on Homelessness. The first meeting of the Council is tentatively scheduled for early August.

“The Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness will be action oriented, results based, and maintain a relentless focus on bringing about results,” Abercrombie said in a statement.

The Council will meet quarterly and report annually to the Governor, the Legislature and county mayors, including policy recommendations supporting the statewide plan.

“Bringing cabinet-level leadership together with federal agencies and the private sector will force everyone to elevate their focus on this issue,” Alexander said. “Many people have been working diligently to address homelessness, but the establishment of this council will increase coordination and help take these efforts to the next level.”

The Council will align its efforts with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homeless (USICH), established by President Obama in 2009.

Key mandates for the Council include:

* Increasing transitional and permanent housing options.

* Acquiring increased federal funding to support homeless efforts.

* Replicating successful initiatives implemented in other states.

* Increasing the integration of social, health, training, and housing services to reduce duplication among homeless assistance programs.

The members of the council include:

Governor Abercrombie, who will serve as Chair
Marc Alexander, the Governor’s Coordinator on Homeless, who will serve as Vice Chair
Patricia McManaman, Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS)
Loretta Fuddy, Director of the Department of Health (DOH)
Dwight Takamine, Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR)
Jodie Maesaka-Hirata, Director of the Department of Public Safety (PSD)
Richard Lim, Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT)
Major General Darryll Wong, Adjutant General of the Department of Defense (DOD)
David Louie, Attorney General, Department of the Attorney General
Kathryn Matayoshi, Superintendent of the Department of Education (DOE)
Mayor Peter Carlisle, City & County of Honolulu
Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Kauai County
Mayor William Kenoi, Hawaii County
Mayor Alan Arakawa, Maui County
Darryl Vincent, Chair of Partners in Care (City & County of Honolulu)

The Council will also include representatives of the following:

State House of Representatives
State Senate
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Bridging the Gap, a neighbor island Continuum of Care, a comprehensive system of services
Faith community representative
Business community