Homeless Villages bill dies

KAILUA-KONA — A bill to fund two Big Island homeless villages died in the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Tuesday after clearing its first two committees.

House Bill 2461 would have established a Hawaii Island Homeless Villages Program and appropriated more than $2.5 million from the state’s general fund in fiscal year 2018-19 to construct, manage and maintain a site in Kailua-Kona near Kealakehe High School known as “Village 9,” as well as a site in Hilo.


Annual management and maintenance costs for the two villages would have amounted to $1.36 million in perpetuity had the measure passed, assuming appropriations and monetary need remained the same.

Lance Niimi, executive assistant to Mayor Harry Kim specializing in homelessness, said each homeless village would have provided 25 alternative-style units for families and individuals alike, 50 total, as well as a community and assessment center at each location. The areas would also have created space for homeless living in vehicles who would have had access to community center facilities, such as showers, communal bathrooms and a kitchen, Niimi said.

The county projected each site would support upwards of 100 individuals.

Carolyn Tanaka, state House spokesperson, said Monday the Judiciary Committee would need to schedule a hearing for HB 2461 by Tuesday, as well as hear the bill and move it out of committee by Thursday, or the measure would fail.

James Gonser, another House spokesperson, confirmed Tuesday that the committee had not scheduled a hearing for the bill.

Village 9, the proposed site in Kailua-Kona, has been an issue of some debate in West Hawaii for several months.


The county recently procured 15 acres of land near Kealakehe High School, on which Niimi said it plans to situate a homeless camp of some sort despite the failure of HB 2461. He said Monday the county will pursue other forms of funding moving forward.

Planners are currently drawing up a master plan for the site and an environmental assessment will follow. The community will have a chance to offer comment as part of the EA process, during which it is expected many will oppose the location of the proposed site due to its proximity to a public school.

  1. sonneofmanisrael February 14, 2018 6:58 am

    Promise something and then, whoops.

  2. KonaRich February 14, 2018 7:53 am

    Can anyone remember a time a project was estimated $2.5 million or any amount come in, on time and under budget here in Hawaii. Or $1.36 million per year ever going down. Never going to happen.

  3. Michael February 14, 2018 8:49 am

    Considering they are having massive problems on Oahu with the homeless ‘safe zone’ they established and are about to evict all the residents, it is probably a good thing this bill died. Giving drug addicts free housing doesn’t exactly encourage them to clean up and go to work. I am all for helping people lead a productive life, but you need a way to encourage people to want to be productive first and allowing them a free crash pad with little to no enforcement of rules is never going to accomplish that. If you created a ‘sober village’ for homeless and mandating testing, vocational training and/or job search, I would be 100% for it. By the way, they have those already, called half way houses and they are a metric ton cheaper that what is being proposed here.

    1. shirl February 15, 2018 7:09 am

      Michael you are correct. The homeless need education on how to become productive.
      Without getting them ready to join in with the rest of us it will be a complete waste of
      our Money & time. A good many have already been enabled to live this life style for years. If
      there is mental problems then that is where real help should start. Volunteering to
      do any kind of activity would be a start. I have complained before and I will say it again
      “Putting a Homeless encampment near Schools is really asking for a lot of problems”..
      Where is common sense?

  4. KonaLife February 14, 2018 8:50 am

    $3.86 million for first year costs (assuming no cost overruns) for 50 families is is $77,200 per family. That’s more the median household income for Big Island households of $60,000. Seems like government inefficiency at it’s worst.

    1. Buds4All February 14, 2018 11:30 am

      Even worse is these people do not work , I wish I could sit around and smoke pakalolo and watch Leave it to Beaver reruns!

      1. KonaDude February 14, 2018 1:49 pm

        Leave it to Beaver reruns are still on, what channel?

        1. Buds4All February 14, 2018 1:53 pm


  5. Joan Sheldon February 15, 2018 12:00 pm

    First, lets find a location not near a school….then priority house those mentally and physically not able to work. Let those that can work, live there only until they complete education classes and training that enable them to work. Don’t blame those living in the streets for not finding a job. Poverty, Hopelessness and Depression and lack of education are the main causes of homelessness.
    Fix those first… then the job will come.

  6. KonaDude February 16, 2018 12:00 pm

    I’m not implying these people are animals, but the concept (don’t feed the animals) sorta applies to some of the homeless. We just need to figure out which ones they are and not use valuable resources on those taking advantage of the system or have little or no motivation to change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.