The housing crisis extends far and wide, requiring both affordable housing and attention to the homeless. Working with the homeless is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Kauaʻi County has identified the need for a range of housing types for persons with mental disabilities, substance abuse, and debilitating illnesses; and then there are those that have experienced a tragedy or life-event that was economically crippling.
We need to actively support and provide rehabilitation programs such as a drug treatment facility and services for the mentally ill. These should include transitional and group home facilities with medical and other support services.
I support the development and expansion of shelters to increase temporary housing for the houseless and other at-risk populations. For the economically homeless, financial assistance coupled with counseling and money management training can get individuals and couples back on their feet. We should prioritize resources for houseless families with children, youth, women, veterans, and people with disabilities.
I would also take a hard look those newly arriving on Kaua’i with a one-way ticket, no money and no place to stay. They arrive on our island simply to get a free handout and live off our limited resources. Many of these “tourists” become part of our homeless problem.