Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, MD, submitted additional budget requests to fund housing and healthcare initiatives to the legislature on Monday.
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Green filed his executive budget for the fiscal biennium 2023-25 in December 2022. It features $2.1 billion in capital improvement project requests for fiscal 2024 and $1.4 billion in fiscal 2025.
The budget included several housing and mental health proposals, including $15 million in each fiscal year for the Ohana Zones Pilot Program, which has served more than 5,510 homeless individuals.
The new budget requests include initiatives related to housing and infrastructure, healthcare, the environment and agriculture, education, and government efficiency.
“The state is in a strong financial position, and we need to act now to provide the relief that many people in Hawaii need,” Green said in a statement. “These budget requests, in combination with my legislative proposals, will immediately and directly help families, reduce the cost of living, provide essential healthcare services, and protect our climate and future of Hawaii.”
Green’s new housing requests include:
- $900 million for Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation programs to support affordable housing and infrastructure across the state
- $40 million in each fiscal year for lump sum repairs and maintenance for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands infrastructure
- $20 million for housing authority public housing development, improvements, and renovations
- $12.5 million for the Hawaii Public Housing Authority’s Rent Supplement program
The legislature is also considering bills that would address housing issues, including Senate Bill 1551 (and its counterpart House Bill 1397), which would establish a supportive housing pilot program in the Statewide Office on Homelessness and Housing Solutions.
Green’s new healthcare requests include:
- $45 million to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates up to 100% of Medicare rates
- $12.3 million to provide additional funding to the Department of Health to provide additional resources for mental health services throughout the state
- $7.5 million to support the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital’s new psychiatric unit on Kauai (the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services passed Senate Bill 677 this week, which would authorize psychiatrists to prescribe medications if enacted)
- $5 million for a new facility at the Hawaii State Hospital for secure and semi-secure stabilization beds for individuals who have behavioral health issues
- $5 million to help consolidate health care unit operations at Halawa Correctional Facility to provide counseling, and mental and medical evaluations