Bill Text: HI HB1205 | 2014 | Regular Session | Introduced

Bill Title: Civil Rights; Homeless Bill of Rights

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2013-12-18 - Carried over to 2014 Regular Session. [HB1205 Detail]

Download: Hawaii-2014-HB1205-Introduced.html


H.B. NO.



















     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that Hawaii has experienced a drastic increase in the number of homeless individuals and families as a result of economic hardship, a severe shortage of safe, affordable housing, and a shrinking social safety net.

     According to 2007 data, Hawaii has twice as many people who are homeless per one hundred thousand people than the national average.  The 2011 Statewide Point-in-Time Count indicated a six per cent increase in homelessness throughout the State.  Further, 2010 data indicate that almost one-third of the sheltered homeless population are children; more than ten per cent are veterans; over sixty per cent have lived in Hawaii for more than ten years; almost half of the families who are homeless include someone who is employed; and almost thirty per cent are Hawaiian or part Hawaiian.  This data shows that there is no single profile of a homeless person.

     In January 2011, the governor pronounced the elimination of homelessness as a moral imperative and appointed the first governor's coordinator on homelessness to lead the effort to prevent and eliminate homelessness in Hawaii through the use of strategic approaches, structural changes, and unprecedented collaborative and civic involvement.  On March 4, 2011, the governor hosted, with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, an interagency leadership forum on homelessness that was attended by leaders from government, business, the community, and the faith community, to advocate for the development of a collaborative strategy to end homelessness in Hawaii.

     On June 22, 2010, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, comprising nineteen cabinet members, agency heads, and local and state partners in the public and private sectors, released "Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness", the nation's first comprehensive strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.  "Opening Doors" identified ambitious goals of:

(1)    Ending chronic homelessness in five years;

(2)    Preventing and ending homelessness among veterans in five years;

(3)    Preventing and ending homelessness for families, youth, and children in ten years; and

(4)    Setting a path to ending all types of homelessness.

     The governor has found it to be imperative and in the public interest to capitalize on the opportunities and momentum generated by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness by establishing the Hawaii interagency council on homelessness on June 8, 2012.

     The Hawaii interagency council on homelessness provides leadership for the prevention and elimination of homelessness and to keep Hawaii at the forefront of providing care to its residents in the spirit of the Law of the Splintered Paddle (Ke Kanawai Mamalahoe), as expressed in article IX, section 10, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii.  Concordant with this fundamental belief, no person should suffer unnecessarily or be subject to unfair discrimination based on his or her homeless status.  It is the intent of this Act to ameliorate the adverse effects visited upon individuals and communities when the State's residents lack a home.

     SECTION 2.  The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:



     §    -1  Bill of rights.  No person's rights, privileges, or access to public services may be denied or abridged solely because he or she is homeless.  Such a person shall be granted the same rights and privileges as any other resident of this State.  A person experiencing homelessness:

(1)  Has the right to equal treatment by all state and county agencies, without discrimination on the basis of housing status;

(2)  Has the right not to face discrimination while seeking or maintaining employment due to his or her lack of a permanent mailing address, or his or her mailing address being that of a shelter or social service provider;

(3)  Has the right to emergency medical care free from discrimination based on his or her housing status;

(4)  Has the right to vote, register to vote, and receive documentation necessary to prove identity for voting without discrimination due to his or her housing status;

(5)  Has the right to protection from disclosure of his or her records and information provided to homeless shelters and service providers to state, county, and private entities without appropriate legal authority; and the right to confidentiality of personal records and information in accordance with all limitations on disclosure established by the Federal Homeless Management Information Systems, the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and the Federal Violence Against Women Act; and

(6)  Has the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her personal property within a supervised publicly- or privately-operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations; or an institution that provides temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized.

     §    -2  Damages and attorneys' fees.  In any civil action alleging a violation of this chapter, the court may award appropriate injunctive and declaratory relief, actual damages, and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs to a prevailing plaintiff."

     SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.








Report Title:

Civil Rights; Homeless Bill of Rights



Establishes a bill of rights for persons experiencing homelessness.




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