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O‘ahu Rep Calls for Investigation in NYC Policy Sending Homeless to Hawai‘i

November 1, 2019, 2:01 PM HST
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An O‘ahu lawmaker sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr asking that his agency investigate New York City’s policy of sending homeless citizens to other states across the nation.

Rep. John M. Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi) states in the later than an investigation is needed following the New York Post’s front page article of Oct. 26, 2019 titled: “NYC secretly exports homeless to Hawai‘i and other states without telling receiving pols.”

The article alleges that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Special One-Time Assistance Program” (SOTA) has since its inception in August 2017 exported 12,482 homeless individuals to 32 states.

“The SOTA program to my knowledge fails to comply with ensuring the safety, well-being, and continued support which is needed for a homeless individual or family being displaced. The SOTA program is a recipe for disaster and inhumane to the homeless being exported out of New York,” Mizuno said in his letter.

Mizuno acknowledges that Hawai‘i has a program called “Return to Home” for sending homeless individuals to the mainland, but only “if we have a confirmed strong support unit, meaning a family agreeing that they are willing to accept their homeless family member from Hawaiʻi.”

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“I ask that your agency conduct a legal review and investigation into this matter, as many Hawai‘i residents have serious concerns that this illegal program could exasperate an already tragic situation here in Hawai‘i. I believe this issue is compelling enough to warrant an inquiry and full investigation into New York City’s SOTA program,” Mizuno said.

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