Could homeowners be the answer to Hawaii's homeless crisis? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Could homeowners be the answer to Hawaii's homeless crisis?

(Image: Hawaii News Now/File) (Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Would you let a homeless person live in your backyard? What if you got paid to do it?

Honolulu City Councilman Joey Manahan is looking into what it would take to make that a reality. 

Like so many neighborhoods on Oahu, the streets of Manahan's district are lined with people living in tents.

"Certainly with the values of ohana and aloha that we have here in Hawaii I would certainly think some people would open up their homes," said Manahan.

The idea is simple: Provide homeowners with cash to build a rental unit in their backyard. The agreement requires the homeowner to rent the space to someone who is homeless. To jumpstart the process, permitting would be streamlined.

"We'd have to vet it through committee and council but you know what I'd like to do is introduce a resolution and discuss it and see if it's something that w are willing to do here," said Manahan.

It's a program Los Angeles County launched last week. There participants are given up to $75,000 to go towards construction. Others who already have a unit are eligible for up to $50,000 in subsides to bring it up to code.

HNN asked folks here what they thought of the idea. Most of the responses were positive.

"I would say yeah. I have two acres of land. I live down Waianae," said Syrick Tuaolo.

"I think everyone deserves a second chance and if you have the space you should use it," said Matthew Resich.

One man, though said, "Probably not. I like my own space."

"If the state is going to use money that they're already using for other homeless programs this seems like a much more reasonable use then just shoveling it out the door," said Derek Gabriel.

Zebonee Bongiorno had questions about the proposal. "Would it be like single moms? Or veterans? Do you know what I mean? I guess it would depend on the person?”

LA isn't the only place using backyard homes in an attempt to solve its homeless issues.

Officials in Multnomah County, Oregon are offering to build up to 300 tiny homes at no cost to   homeowners who provide land.  The agreement requires the homeowner to allow a homeless person to live there for at least five years.

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