Mayors vow to join state in helping homeless
For the first time as a unified group, mayors from the four counties yesterday pledged to support the state's efforts in helping chronic homeless people and creating affordable-housing initiatives, rapidly growing problems they say are plaguing the entire state.
In their annual testimonies to the Legislature's money committees yesterday, the Hawaii Council of Mayors pushed for a proposal to rehire retirees as city governments face a critical shortage of workers with aging baby boomers. The last of their four priorities this year was a request to receive half of the state's HI-5 program revenue for recyclable cans and bottles that aren't redeemed.
"Whenever you have a unified approach by all mayors, it brings a stronger message that they realize homelessness is in their counties," said Kaulana Park, the state's point person on homeless solutions. "It's setting a precedent to show there is a sense of urgency to solve these problems."
The individual wish lists for each county include:
» Maui: $7.3 million to build a 150-million-gallon water reservoir in Piiholo.
» Big Island: $34 million to build two affordable-housing projects in Kaloko and Keahuolu.
» Kauai: $1.21 million to replace the lighting systems at Vidinha Stadium, Hanapepe Stadium, Isenberg Park and Peter Rayno Park to protect endangered birds in facilities also used for school sporting events.
» Honolulu: $1.25 million to install encryption hardware and software for city government databases to guard against identity theft.