Healing solutions for homeless people
There needs to be better management and/or coordination of the agencies and organizations that address homelessness on Maui. To this end, the council has voted (pending second reading) to create a Commission on Healing Solutions for the Homeless. This will give the public a place to go to report deficiencies in how we are supporting this disadvantaged group, and also help to codify the solutions for further decision-making.
We are also hoping the administration will see the new commission as additional aid and include them in implementation and enforcement decisions.
One of the solutions I've assisted with is the acquisition of a mobile hygiene unit to address this important need on the island.
Addressing the root cause
As the Council considers funding for the homeless problem on Maui, we need to address the root causes of homelessness and understand how many folks are intentionally homeless, how many have mental health and/or drug addiction problems, and how many folks are in unfortunate circumstances that they need assistance to resolve. Each of these root causes needs a different approach when creating solutions. The County Council can lead the way by focusing on Human Concerns issues, making it a separate committee or a Working Group of the Housing, Human Concerns and Transportation Committee, regularly reviewing data and/or funding comprehensive assessments in the absence of information, and appropriately funding the County departments and community non-profits that are truly assisting in solving these problems.
Utilizing Public-Private partnerships
There are other social services that are not currently being delivered at full capacity of need and are feeding the stress of everyday life. No one in this election is even talking about domestic violence, drug abuse, and cultural sensitivity, but they are big problems that need to be dealt with.
My own experience working with local organizations like Hui Malama Learning Center, Mental Health Kokua, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, etc., and being Maui’s Representative on the State Board of Education, leads me to believe we need to examine our current services -- private, government and non-profit, to create stronger public/private partnerships and plans that are action-oriented with benchmarks to measure success. Many of our non-profits are doing a great job with very little, and it’s time to look at what they might be able to do with more help. We should be looking at all funding – federal, state, and county, and I think we can streamline the county administration to find funding as well.
We also need to find a way to save our non-profits the burden of coming to ask for budgetary funding every year and I would support a biennial budget, like the State has, to give a more secure planning options for successful programs.