Maui News

Homeless Initiative Bills Sent to Maui County Council

December 1, 2015, 5:02 PM HST
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Shopping carts belonging to homeless individuals in the vacant lot next to the Family Life Center in Kahului. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Shopping carts belonging to homeless individuals in the vacant lot next to the Family Life Center in Kahului. Photo by Wendy Osher.

As part of Maui County’s ongoing efforts to address issues and concerns related to the homeless community, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa transmitted five bills and a budget amendment to the Maui County Council.

If passed, Mayor Arakawa says the bills would strengthen the county code in sections which Maui police say would help them to enforce the law.  The bills specifically aim to prohibit drinking in public areas, urinating or defecating in public, lying down on public sidewalks, stealing shopping carts and aggressive begging.

The budget amendment if passed would provide funding for temporary sheltering, expansion funding for homeless programs and the creation of a homeless section within the Department of Housing and Human Concerns.

“We have proposed solutions that would help the Maui Police Department enforce the law and keep people safe, while also creating and deploying emergency housing for our homeless community,” said Managing Director Keith Regan in a County issued press release. “Time is of the essence and we ask that our council members review, discuss and approve our funding requests as quickly as they can, so that we may get started,” said Regan.

On Tuesday, Nov. 24, Mayor Arakawa, Managing Director Regan and Housing Director Reiman presented options and recommendations to the Council to help address what they described as a “growing homeless crisis.”

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This included the acquisition of rapid deployable emergency shelters that would provide much needed housing to the County’s more than 1,800 unsheltered individuals.

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County officials say that during the meeting, councilmembers expressed support for the recommendations and urged the Mayor to transmit the required documentation so that they could take action.

The five proposed “nuisance” bills have been placed on the Council agenda for this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The budget amendment was transmitted directly to the Budget and Finance Committee but is not yet on the committee agenda for this month.

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