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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, June 30, 2008

Lingle to extend homeless shelter proclamation

By Audrey McAvoy
Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Gov. Linda Lingle

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Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday that she would extend an emergency proclamation allowing for the expedited construction of homeless shelters and transitional housing projects on O'ahu's Leeward Coast.

It's the fourth time since 2006 the governor has extended the proclamation, which some Democrats have criticized for allowing the state to circumvent procurement laws.

The emergency proclamation exempts state agencies working on the homelessness problem on the Leeward Coast from some state and county laws.

These laws include land-use regulations, zoning ordinances, environmental and water pollution statutes, and government purchasing procedures.

Lingle, a Republican, said an extension was needed so the state can finish building three new facilities on the Wai'anae Coast.

"As the homeless population along the Leeward Coast continues to grow, it is urgent that we complete these shelters and transitional housing facilities in an expedited manner," Lingle said in a news release.

But she also reduced the number of laws waived under the proclamation. And she narrowed the proclamation's application to the three projects already under construction.

Lingle first signed the emergency proclamation on July 5, 2006, when she called Leeward O'ahu's homeless problem a "major disaster and catastrophe."

Her declaration came a few months after Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann began closing the city's parks for renovations and kicking homeless people out of Ala Moana Beach Park. It also came while growing numbers of homeless were taking up residence on Leeward Coast beaches.

The governor's office said two facilities opened since 2006 have provided housing for 1,496 people, most of who were living on the beach or in parks.

The three remaining projects are:

  • A $3 million renovation of a former military building at Kalaeloa to accommodate about 200 people, mostly singles and couples.

  • The $11.5 million construction of 80 units of transitional housing in Ma'ili. Developer Stanford Carr won a state contract to build the complex, but he has said his company will lose money on the project.

  • $13.5 million to build Kahikolu Ohana Hale O Waianae. To be run by the Hawaii Coalition of Christian Churches, the 72-unit complex will provide everything from short-term emergency housing to low-income rentals.