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Saturday, January 28, 2023
Green Signs Homeless Emergency Proclamation--Amends it Three Days Later
By News Release @ 8:00 PM :: 2579 Views :: Homelessness


News Release from Office of the Governor, January 26, 2023

HONOLULU, HI  ̶  Governor Josh Green, M.D. has amended the Emergency Proclamation on Homelessness signed earlier this week. 

The proclamation allows for exemptions from certain processes that typically delay projects in order to expedite construction of low-impact kauhale, or tiny home communities. “We amended our homelessness emergency proclamation to reflect guardrails that will ensure we don’t have to choose between our kuleana to culture and land, and our responsibility to the people who are most vulnerable in our communities,” Gov. Green said. 

“My intention in signing the emergency proclamation was always to protect sacred sites, iwi kūpuna and the environment – while building kauhale and working towards aggressively ending chronic homelessness and unsheltered suffering statewide,” said. Gov. Green. “To do this, we must take bold but thoughtful action.”

Signed during his State of the State Address Monday, the initial emergency proclamation contains the same language as previous proclamations in effect from 2015 to 2020, that allowed for expedited construction of kauhale – including Pu‘uhonua o Wai‘anae ̶  a project that was 100-percent community-driven.

Past proclamations had no rules or processes guiding how projects would qualify, or  how basic considerations of life-safety, the environment, culture, or other considerations would be addressed. “The Governor has amended the proclamation to make it clear that this process is required, and his Administration is crafting rules to outline how that process will work,” said James Koshiba, the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness. “The proclamation does not signal a free-for-all, for developers,” Koshiba said. “Construction projects designed to serve and house the houseless are deeply unprofitable and are unattractive to for-profit developers.”

Fewer than one dozen projects were built during the 2015 to 2020 Emergency Proclamation period, largely led by County or State governments, using public funding. In only a few instances did private nonprofit developers attempt to build, because the process is costly and difficult, even with the exemptions.

The amended emergency proclamation expires March 20, 2023, the same end date as the original document signed earlier this week.

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Office of the Governor Press Release, Jan 23, 2023

HONOLULU, HI  ̶   Governor Josh Green, M.D. today cleared a path toward expedited resolution of Hawaiʻi’s homelessness crisis that threatens the health, safety, security and well-being of our community, by signing an emergency proclamation to work collaboratively with federal and county agencies on measures to provide relief.

“As long as we are in a housing crisis, we will treat it like an emergency,” said Gov. Green today, in his State of the State Address. “This emergency proclamation streamlines the construction process for housing, removing unnecessary red tape,and enables our community partners to tackle homelessness and the housing shortage head-on.”

The intention of the emergency action is to speed construction of the 12 kauhale, or tiny village communities, that Gov. Green cited in todayʻs address. These kauhale projects will provide shelter for un-housed people with minimal, if any, impact on the environment. They also can be built faster than large-scale projects. Kama‘okū in Kalaeloa, for instance, provided 37 tiny homes, a commercial kitchen, shared hygiene facilities and close proximity to services for residents. Kama‘okū was built in six months under a similar emergency proclamation.

The emergency relief period will continue through March 20, 2023, unless terminated or superseded by separate proclamation, whichever occurs first.

An executed copy of the emergency proclamation can be found here.

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