UPDATE – (6 a.m. on Wednesday, September 21)
- “A Strategic Roadmap for Homelessness and Housing” was presented by the Mayor Roth administration to the Hawai‘i County Council Committee on Governmental Operations, Relations, and Economic Development on Tuesday, September 20.
- The roadmap, developed through four focus group sessions conducted over two weeks, sets priorities in dealing with the issues of homelessness and housing.
- County councilmembers, who provided the “unprecedented” funding to tackle the issue in Ordinance 22-26 earlier this year, and who mandated the roadmap be developed in Resolution 442, questioned the administration’s process used to develop the plan.
From the office of Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth, before the council meeting was held:
The County of Hawai‘i Office of Housing & Community Development (OHCD) will present “A Strategic Roadmap for Homelessness and Housing” to the Hawai‘i County Council Committee on Governmental Operations, Relations, and Economic Development, at 2:00 p.m. today, September 20.
In March, the Council passed, and Mayor Roth signed, Ordinance 22-26, which appropriates unprecedented funding to address the pressing issues of homelessness and housing on our island. Through Resolution 442, adopted on July 19, the Council requested that OHCD first develop and submit a Roadmap by September, setting forth priorities and intentions for this new funding.
In coordination with its partner, OrgCode, OHCD designed an outreach process and approach that ensured those on the front lines selected potential investments for the funding. As a result, the priorities identified in the Roadmap document are determined entirely by the community through input from critical stakeholders most intimately involved with homelessness work and experiences.
“We would like to commend the work of Administrator Kunz and her staff for their commitment to making this roadmap a true community effort,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “Our administration understands the need to involve stakeholders in these critical discussions and is truly grateful to the community for their willingness to come together and tackle some of the most challenging issues facing our County.”
Four focus group sessions were conducted over two weeks to gather this input, culminating in a significant cross-sector convening on August 12. Outreach was made to 156 individuals, with 115 community members attending the sessions. The stakeholders engaged covered a broad range of representation, including homelessness service providers (such as shelter, mental, behavioral health, and substance abuse treatment staff), those with lived experience in being unsheltered, business, philanthropy, landowners, developers, government, and public safety. Further details of the community engagement conducted are described in the Roadmap provided.
“It was important for our administration that a vision and path forward on homelessness come directly from the community voices who are most closely involved,” said Susan Kunz, Office of Housing and Community Development Administrator. “We are grateful to those who took the time to share their experiences and ideas. Everyone who participated came solution-oriented. This Roadmap is another step in the County’s work to help the most vulnerable in our community and ensure that homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring.”
Following comments from the Council Committee, OHCD will develop a Request for Proposal process to solicit organizational capacity that will assist the County in carrying out initiatives and programs incorporating the priorities within the Roadmap selected by the community.