Photo: Emily Metcalf
Photo: Emily Metcalf

Honolulu – Governor Neil Abercrombie last week signed an executive order that establishes the Hawai’i Interagency Council on Homelessness (HICH). The 24-member council—composed of state department directors, federal agency representatives, and community leaders—will develop 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 Hawai’i Interagency Council on Homelessness will be action oriented, results based, and maintain a relentless focus on bringing about results,” said Governor Abercrombie. “We are continuing to bring people together, taking responsibility and building partnerships in our united efforts to end homelessness in Hawai’i.”

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,” said Alexander. “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 US 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 90-Day Plan is a single step in a longer journey for our ultimate goal of ending homelessness,” said Sophina Placencia, Executive Director of Wai’anae Community Outreach, a community provider who helped formulate the state’s 90-Day Plan on Homelessness. “Though we’ve accomplished much in a short period, the interagency council will begin to shift focus to the long term.”

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, Kaua’i County

·        Mayor William Kenoi, Hawai’i 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

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