Hawaii Mayor Signs Emergency Proclamation for Homeless Folks – Suspends Some County Laws

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Him signed an emergency proclamation today due to the increasing homeless population in the Kona area of the Big Island of Hawaii:

Mayor Harry Kim

WHEREAS, Chapter 127A Hawaii Revised Statutes, provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County.

WHEREAS, Chapter 127A Hawaii Revised Statutes and Chapter 7, Articles 1
and 2 of the Hawaii County Code, establishes a Civil Defense Agency within the
County of Hawaii and prescribes its powers, duties, and responsibilities, and
Section 13- 23 of the Hawaii County Charter empowers the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and

WHEREAS, homeless individuals have established an encampment at the
County of Hawaii’s Old Kona Airport Park, District of South Kona, County and State of Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, the homeless individuals at the Old Kona Airport Park were removed from the park grounds; and

WHEREAS, these homeless individuals could be temporarily sheltered at the
grounds of the Hale Kikaha Project located in the District of North Kona County and State of Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, these unsheltered homeless individuals are without access to
adequate bathroom, shower and living facilities; and

WHEREAS, these unsheltered homeless individuals require health and social
services in order to maintain themselves safely and in reasonable health; and

WHEREAS, the lack of secure, safe and sanitary shelter, and adequate health
and social services for these homeless people is endangering the health, safety and welfare of these people and pose a threat to the environment and public health, and demands emergency action to prevent or mitigate suffering, injury, loss, or damage to persons and property; and County of Hawaii is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer

WHEREAS, pursuant to section 127A- 13( b)( 1) Hawaii Revised Statutes the
Mayor has the authority to relieve hardships and inequities, or obstructions to public health, safety or welfare found by the Mayor to exist in the laws of the County and to result from the operation of federal programs or measures taken under Chapter 127A Hawai’ i Revised Statutes, by suspending the county laws, in whole or in part, or by alleviating the provisions of county laws on such terms and conditions the Mayor may impose; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to section 127A- 13( b)( 2) Hawai’ i Revised Statutes the
Mayor has the authority to suspend any county law that impedes or tends to impede or to be detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of, or to conflict with emergency functions, including the laws by which Chapter 127A Hawai’ i Revised Statutes, specifically are made applicable to emergency personnel; and

WHEREAS, due to the possibility of threat to the environment and public health to residents of the District of South and North Kona, Hawaii Island, and the need for government agencies and representatives from the private sector to mobilize and provide immediate services to our island residents, a state of emergency is authorized pursuant to Chapter 127A Hawai’ i Revised Statutes, and Chapter 7, Hawaii County Code.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, HARRY KIM, Mayor of the County of Hawai’ i, do hereby proclaim and declare that an emergency contemplated by section 127A- 14, Hawaii Revised Statutes has occurred in the County of Hawai’ i and hereby proclaim an emergency for the purposes of implementing the emergency management functions as allowed by law, effective August 1, 2017, and continuing thereon for 60 days or until further act by this office.

I FURTHER DECLARE, that pursuant to sections 127A- 13( b)( 1) and ( 2) the following County laws are suspended during the emergency period as they relate to the grounds of Hale Kikaha Project located in the District of North Kona, County and State of Hawaii:

  1. Chapter 5 Building Code.
  2. Chapter 25 Zoning Code.
  3. Chapter 26 Fire Code.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawaii to be affixed. Done this 1st day of August, 2017 in Hilo, Hawai’ i.

County of Hawai’ i

2 Responses

  1. We do not need rent control, as thst will worsen the situation by discouraging those who have invested in properties to convert those properties into the owner occupied units that the homeless can’t afford. T would likely bring a small drop in home prices until the inventory of homes falls, but only for an abbreviated period, followed by the inevitable rise in prices as inflation and ever increasing restrictions on construction and decreasing access to land for develooment continue. Heat we need are laws which make it possible for private investors to develop new jobs and make a profit. Increasing taxes and ever more anti-business regulations are limiting job and income opportuities in Hawaii.
    The root causes of increasing rents are many, including increasing costs to maintain a property in Hawaii, including but not limited to: increasing taxes., increasing labor costs, regulations which make it difficult to remove renter’s who fail to pay the rent and/or damage the property, etc. There are many hard-working and responsible people in Hawaii, but there are some who are not. In the end, everyone pays more when others sre irresponsible and those costs also contribute to the rental rates. Many of our problems are self induced and rent control would be another example of a short-sighted action with unintended consequences.
    For those who may presume I own rental property, I don’t. I have at times in the past, but when I moved to Hawaii apprximately 20 years ago, I didn’t have the option of buying and I rented for years before buying here, bit it was already apparent that the high cost of property here and relatively low rents (relative to the initial investment) Meant an investor must depend on significant appreciation (which is only realized when you sell) is the only ay to earn a reasonable return on investment. That has worked for many, but not all. In general terms, an investor must look for rent to be approximately one percent per month of the property cost. Thus, someone buying a $350,000 home as a rental investment needs to collect approximately $3500 per month to get a reasonable return on his/her investment after taxes, maintenance, etc.. Yet, it appears that in Kona, a home costing “only” 350K would rent for $1700 to $2100 a month, or about half of the norm in terms of rent to value. One thought which might encourage outside investors to build or invest in rental propetries would be to charge lower taxes on properties so long as they are placed in the rental market. The downside of that action would be reduced tax revenues. However, if it also lowered government expenses in building and maintaining housing for resudents, there would be some offset. But not likely enough to be a revenue neutral solution. In the end, the best solution would be improving the business environment, leading to increased private investment, more jobs and a stronger economy. One need only look at the multiple suveys which show Hawaii as one of the worst places in the country for business to understand we need to find a better path in order to address our many problems.

  2. What about the rents going up all over the island
    What’s been done about this
    We Will have more and more homelessness
    We need rent control mayor

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