Gov. David Ige today announced plans to implement ‘Ohana Zones and signed a new statewide emergency proclamation designed to assist efforts to provide housing for our community’s most vulnerable members.
The emergency proclamation will focus on accelerating the completion of housing projects for individuals and families exiting homelessness. It will also help to expand shelter capacity and access to services, especially for unsheltered homeless individuals.
“More work remains to be done to address homelessness, and we must use every tool at our disposal,” Gov. Ige said in signing the emergency proclamation. “Homelessness is a top priority for my administration.”
“‘Ohana Zones are consistent with the State’s overall framework to address homelessness and will provide housing for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
The Ige administration is committed to using ‘Ohana Zone money to support two proven strategies: An investment in Permanent Supportive Housing, and housing-focused supportive services. ‘Ohana Zones will be implemented in partnership with the four counties and homeless service providers.
The state will partner with the City & County of Honolulu to establish three separate ‘Ohana Zones that will collectively add at least 60 new units of permanent supportive housing;
Catholic Charities will open the Villages of Maili, which will serve an estimated 340 people per year – 150 through permanent supportive housing, and 190 who will receive emergency shelter through a new Assessment Center program. The Villages of Maili will serve homeless individuals, couples and families;
Residential Youth Services & Empowerment (RYSE) will expand the number of shelter beds available for homeless youth, ages 18-24. ‘Ohana Zone money will also allow RYSE to add on-site medical services and expand outreach services to homeless youth;
‘Ohana Zone money will support renovations at two state-owned shelters at Kalaeloa. The renovations will enable the continuation of shelter services for homeless individuals and families.
In Hawai‘i County:
‘Ohana Zone funds will be used to convert 13 units at the Ulu Wini Housing Project in West Hawai‘i to permanent supportive housing, and another 10 units at the same property to an emergency shelter. The county will use the new housing and shelter beds to support chronically homeless individuals in Kona.
In Kaua‘i and Maui Counties:
‘Ohana Zone money will be set aside for various projects. The Ige administration will also work with Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami and Maui Mayor-elect Mike Victorino to enhance the capacity for emergency shelters in their respective counties.
Earlier this year, Act 209 appropriated $30 million to establish at least three ‘Ohana Zone sites on O‘ahu, and one each on Maui, Hawai‘i Island and Kaua‘i. The law requires that ‘Ohana Zones be placed on state and county land and must provide services to assist homeless individuals and families to access permanent housing.
The emergency proclamation is for a 60-day period and is set to expire on February 12, 2019.
The proclamation is posted online here.