As Hawaii looks for solutions to our homeless crisis… we need to pay attention to something important happening in Los Angeles.
Voters there will decide during the general election whether to raise property taxes in order to pay for 1-point-two billion dollars to build 10-thousand supportive housing units over ten years. This is permanent housing for the most chronic homeless – including those with mental illness or substance abuse. It's called proposition H-H-H.
We are not suggesting yet that a tax increase is needed here. What is impressive in the L-A case is the coalition that has developed behind this very controversial plan. The L-A Times reports that after a year of rhetoric…city officials…social service agencies…developers…and many other community organizations came together behind the realization that existing county resources were insufficient to deal with the problem.
There's a simple term for this… It's called political will. Elected officials are putting their political careers at risk…betting that constituents will respect this difficult decision. It takes courage to do that.
Solutions to Hawaii's homeless and housing crisis will take equal amounts of political will and courage. Whether our politicians are up to that challenge remains to be seen.