Less Funding For Hawaii's Homeless

Representative Marcus Oshiro
Representative Marcus Oshiro
Representative Colleen Mey
Representative Colleen Mey

(KHNL) - Lawmakers have agreed to spend millions of dollars on homeless services but is it enough? That is the question some are asking at the State Capitol.

Not only is there a need for shelters to house Hawaii's homeless, there are also costs involved with helping people make the transition back into mainstream society.

Costs ,some feel, aren't being covered at the Capitol.

Ask democrats and republicans alike and they'll agree something needs to done to help Hawaii's homeless.

"This is one of the top priorities this legislative session, to address the most needy." says Representative Marcus Oshiro.

But just how much is needed? The governor was asking for 13 million dollars to fund homeless services but the House and Senate Budget Committee approved about 8 and half million.

"I thought we were all on board, the democrats, the republicans , the governor, but this doesn't look like it." says Representative Colleen Meyer.

Why the reduction in the request for a problem that is seen across the islands?

"We haven't got a good accounting of how these monies are spent, we give them enough for this year, then next year we'll get an update of how the money is spent." says Oshiro.

But those who work in the shelters say they are under funded as it is. And it will take much more to change life skills and the mindsets of the homeless. Funding that could go to job training, and get people back on their feet.

Money that some feel, we have to spend. "We have a big surplus , over a billion dollars and this is the time to use it, for a long standing problem." says Meyer.

But those in the majority at the capitol say they'll earmark some for this problem this year, and keep their eyes on next year's budget.

"You don't always get what you want but you'll get what you need and I think we'll have done right by these people" adds Oshiro.

Lawmakers add there are other bills being heard this legislative session that could provide additional money. But some still worry, the funding will not add up enough to keep people from ending up on our beaches and in our already full shelters.