Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Senator Maile Shimabukuro
Representative Andria Tupola
Representative Cedric Gates
Honolulu Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
City Administration Homeless One-Way Ride Policy May Explain O’ahu’s Homeless Point-in-Time Count’s
20% Decrease in Urban Honolulu, 18% Increase in Leeward O’ahu
HONOLULU – After the City Administration admitted in a recent Star-Advertiser article[i] that it routinely provided one-way rides to homeless individuals from urban Honolulu to Leeward O’ahu, a likely cause of the 20% decrease in homelessness in urban Honolulu and respective near 18% increase in homelessness in Leeward O’ahu, State and City representatives issued the following statements in response to what many see as the City Administration continuing to ask Leeward O’ahu residents to do more than their fair share in caring for and housing homeless individuals.
“Many on the Leeward Coast were already questioning the reasons for what they were experiencing, was an increase in homelessness in their communities. Then, not only did the data in the most recent Homeless Point-in-Time Count Report show that a 20% decrease in urban Honolulu was coupled with an almost 18% increase on the Leeward Coast, but also the Administration stated publically that its policy was to provide one-way, no questions asked rides to homeless individuals from urban Honolulu to the Leeward Coast, the reason for the recent spike in homelessness along the Leeward Coast became crystal clear.” Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine stated.[ii]
State Representative Cedric Gates (District 44), after reviewing both the 2018 Point-in-Time Count and the recently stated City Administration policy of shuttling homeless individuals from urban Honolulu to the Leeward Coast, added:
“I am angry and disappointed with the City and County of Honolulu for adopting such a policy where they take one community’s issues and place the burden on another for political expediency and the sake of urban Honolulu and the tourist economy,” Representative Gates said. “I have sent letters requesting additional services to Mayor Caldwell with photos of our coast after the 2018 Point in Time Count. Unfortunately, the practice continues and letters to the Mayor have gone unanswered.”
State Senator Maile Shimabukuro (District 21), and State Representatives Andria Tupola (District 43) from the Leeward side of the island, were also “equally upset and frustrated by this Administration’s one-way shuttle service”.
“The houseless population on the Wai’anae Coast has swelled and is out of control. I receive constant complaints from residents about the loss of access to public parks and facilities,” said Senator Shimabukuro.
“Although there have been statements made that statewide average of homelessness is down, this is clearly not the case in Wai’anae,” said Representative Tupola. “We’ve seen a rise in homelessness on the coast, and the city policy to relocate the homeless from town to Wai’anae is not a solution to the problem.” Representative Tupola continued.
“The Administration’s ongoing attempt to solve homelessness in urban Honolulu by providing homeless individuals with one way rides to the Leeward Coast is unacceptable and continues to run contrary to the City Council’s stated policy of focusing the procurement of homeless housing, hygiene services, and social services in the specific geographic regions where homeless people already reside.[iii]” Councilmember Pine added.
In 2015, the City Council adopted Resolution 15-325. The Resolution affirmed the Council’s position that each Council district is different, and that homelessness in each part of the island needs to be addressed on a neighborhood‑by‑neighborhood basis, not by picking up homeless in one part of the city and dropping them off on the other side of the island. Following the resolution’s adoption, the Council created the Community Revitalization Initiative, appropriating $18 million in the FY2017 budget to put the policy in action. The initiative provided $18 million in funding for land acquisition, leasing, development and/or renovation of facilities for urban rest stops, navigation centers, and workforce/affordable housing, with each district of O’ahu receiving $2 million. To date, the Administration has not released any of the funds to carry out this island-wide, neighborhood by neighborhood solution.
Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine represents residents of District One (’Ewa, ’Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, Wai’anae, Makaha, Keaau, Makua).
Senator Maile Shimabukuro represents residents of State Senate District 21 (Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, Wai‘anae, Makaha, Makua)
Representative Cedric Gates represents residents of State House District 44 (Wai’anae, Makaha, Makua, Maili)
Representative Andria Tupola represents residents of State House District 43 (Nanakuli, Maili, Honokai Hale, Kalaeloa, Ko Olina, ’Ewa Villages)
For immediate release.
[i] “The homeless people were driven to the shelters of their choice.” ~ Marc Alexander, Outreach gets 22 more homeless people into shelters, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 7/13/18 http://www.staradvertiser.com/2018/07/13/hawaii-news/outreach-gets-22-more-homeless-people-into-shelters/
[ii] Statewide 2018 Point-in-Time Count Information Sheet, Available at: https://www.partnersincareoahu.org/sites/default/files/PIT%20Statewide%20Dashboard%20-%20Oahu%20Final%20v3.0.pdf