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Governor Signs Bill Establishing Homelessness Council, Coordinator

June 8, 2012, 3:25 PM HST
* Updated June 8, 5:02 PM
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed legislation to help implement a new state strategy to aid the homeless.

Abercrombie’s signing of Bill 2804 establishes the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness. The governor also named Colin Kippen as his new coordinator on homelessness.

Kippen, 62, is the former executive director of the National Indian Education Association in Washington, DC, and was previously executive director of the Native Hawaiian Education Council. He also has served as senior counsel to the chair of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and has held the deputy administrator post at the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Kippen holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Hawaii. He also attended the University of Iowan where he earned a master’s in urban and regional planning and a law degree.

“Colin brings a strong commitment to seeing our mission though,” Abercrombie said in a statement issued by his office. “As a Native Hawaiian who has dealt with various native challenges, Colin also brings a cultural sensitivity to the growing rate of Native Hawaiians within our homeless population.”

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The Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness will be under the purview of the state Department of Human Services. Its primary function will be to implement the State Strategic Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness.

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The draft plan, which will be reviewed by the new council before it is submitted for Abercrombie’s approval, was the subject of public meetings statewide in March.

The plan’s goals include increasing access for the homeless to stable and affordable housing, improving the homeless’ economic stability and health, and reworking the overall system to ensure that critical services for the homeless are funded.

Bill 2804 also requires DHS to conduct a feasibility study on the establishment of safe havens for homeless and to submit a report to the Legislature prior to the start of the 2013 session.

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The plan

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