House Committees Visit Homeless in Waikiki to Discuss Viable Solutions Such as “Homeless Safe Zones”

From the House Communications Office:

WHAT: The House Committees on Housing and Human Services will visit Kapiolani Park in Waikiki to see firsthand the plight of homelessness and talk to the homeless living there about viable solutions.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 – 12:00 noon

WHERE: Kapiolani Park – Fronting the area of Waikiki Beach across the Honolulu Zoo

WHY: Rep. Rida Cabanilla, chair of the Housing Committee, Rep. John Mizuno, chair of the Human Services Committee, and Rep. Tom Brower, vice chair of the Human Services and district representative, are working with community organizations to meet with local homeless residents. During the site visit, they will discuss the chronic homeless, the Housing First Pilot Program and “safe zones” for the homeless.

“It’s important to have our lawmakers come out and actually see the living conditions, and to hear directly from the homeless on what works or doesn’t work,” said Rep. Brower, author of House Resolution 62, HD1, which was adopted by the House of Representatives and proposes to offer an immediate solution for the homeless, by establishing “safe zones” that would designate a safe and supervised area for the homeless to stay at night.

“This is a complex issue, and it will remain so unless lawmakers get out of their offices and see what’s happening on the street,” said Rep. Cabanilla.  “This is a way to reach out and personally work with the homeless community on solutions that are viable for them.”

“We will hold a legislative briefing this Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 10:00 a.m., perhaps much of what we cover may become a prelude for discussion at the upcoming briefing.  Still concerning to me is the sheer number of homeless we are dealing with, as well as the percentage of homeless that are from outside Hawaii,” said Rep. Mizuno.  “Our services are being drained and we need to turn this around, in a prudent, cost effective, and humane way.  That’s why I support my Vice Chair’s resolution for an immediate solution for our homeless.”

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