$25,847,000 in Legislative Funding 2020
$21,374,000 in Legislative Funding 2019
Representative Matayoshi, Senator Keohokalole, and I worked with numerous State, City, and community partners to create the Kāneʻohe Joint Outreach Center, which is a three-year pilot program to addresses homelessness on the Windward side. We have heard your concerns related to the increase in homelessness in our community and have already seen the tremendous impact that this project has had in addressing those concerns.
The Kāneʻohe Joint Outreach Center serves the Windward side's most vulnerable populations, including individuals, children, and families who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness. This program provides a one-stop center for medical care, social services, as well as hygiene services to help people get back on their feet. We are so grateful for the support from businesses, non-profits, and residents, like you, who have committed to supporting this project in order to help address the homelessness issue in our community.
Mahealani Cypher and Rocky Kaluhiwa, also residents of District 48, asked me to introduce a bill to support He‘eia State Park. The Park, along with He‘eia fishpond, the He‘eia community development district, the marine waters that surround He‘eia, and Moku o Lo‘e (Coconut Island) are all a part of the He‘eia National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), which is only one of 29 estuaries across the nation focused on studying and protecting our vital coastal resources.
This bill (HB 1068) brings key community stakeholders together in the long-range planning and development of the He‘eia area.
Thanks to the advocacy and hard work of Mahealani and Rocky, $150,000 has been approved to start the community-based long-range planning for He‘eia State Park and the He‘eia NERR. This bill will ensure that community voices are heard as we work to support and protect our cultural and natural resources in Kāne‘ohe.
Concerns of flooding from a nearby stream have caused problems for Benjamin Parker Elementary School, as well as residents that live on William Henry Road. Previously, when meeting with the School’s Principal, I learned that the school spends tens of thousands of dollars of their own funds each year on stream maintenance.
In response to this concern, I introduced HB 1070, which requires the Department of Education (DOE), and not the individual school, to maintain any geographically disadvantageous land, such as streams or rough terrain. This bill now allows schools, like Benjamin Parker Elementary School, to use the tens of thousands of dollars they were originally spending on stream and rough terrain maintenance for resources and support for their school and students.
HB 1070 also provides funding for the Hawaiʻi Teachers Standards Board, as well as $600,000 in teacher stipends to continue the Grow Our Own teachers recruiting initiative.
Daisy Ishihara and Betty Yoshida, residents of District 48, shared a concern with me regarding the homeless encampments near the Hawai‘i Children's Discovery Center (HCDC). Daisy and Betty have been faithful volunteers at the Center and have seen the negative changes that have taken place over the years where parents, children and families no longer feel safe to visit the Center.
My office responded to Daisy and Betty's concerns by working with Loretta Yajima, Chairwoman and CEO of HCDC, to introduce House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 36, which urges the governor's coordinator on homelessness and the City and County of Honolulu to come together and prioritize their efforts in the area surrounding the Hawai‘i Children's Discovery Center by convening a task force.
Through the advocacy and dedication of Loretta, Daisy, Betty and their fellow Alpha Delta Kappa members (an organization of women educators who also volunteer at the Center), the resolution was approved and passed both the House and Senate. Since 2019, the Task Force has made progress in finding solutions to help the homeless situation near the Center, so that future generations of Hawai‘i's children can learn, grow, and experience the wonderful Hawai‘i Children’s Discovery Center.
In the fall of 2018, Representative Scot Matayoshi and I visited Windward Community College (WCC) and saw the new location of a childcare center. (WCC was the only UH community college without a child care center prior to this new facility.) During this visit, we learned that the Center did not have funding for a permanent director position, which caused a delay in the opening of the facility.
In 2019, Representative Matayoshi and I worked to secure funding in the State's budget for a permanent WCC Childcare Director position. Students who are parents will now have the childcare support and resources necessary to further their education and reach their academic and educational goals.
The KEY Project located on Waihe‘e Road in Kahalu‘u nurtures and promotes the cultural, environmental, social, economic and recreational well-being of the Kualoa-He‘eia area by providing resources that effectively serve the needs of the community.
$125,000 was secured in grant funding for the KEY Project's Na Pua o Koʻolau - kūpuna program, which promotes socialization, culture, exercise and access to healthy foods. The funding helped to provide seniors, who are 50 and older, with a free freshly prepared breakfast twice a week.
Waikalua Loko I‘a is a fishpond located at the end of Kulauli Street, near Pū‘ōhala Elementary School. For two decades, community groups, public and private partners, student groups, and individuals have given their time, energy and love into restoring this ancient fishpond.
In 2019, $500,000 was secured in state funding to help build an education and resource center at the fishpond with the goal of continuing to educate students and our community, as well as to preserve our cultural and natural resources.
The Kāne‘ohe Pali to Lo‘i Project is a partnership between the Trust for Public Land and the Kāne‘ohe community, which is working to protect approximately 1,000 acres of land in Kāne‘ohe, near Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Gardens, from development. There are two phases for this project with a total of 6 parcels of land.
Thanks to the partnership with Trust for Public Land, $700,000 was acquired to purchase the first phase of the project, which includes 4 of the 6 parcels of land. As we move into phase 2 to acquire parcels 5 and 6 of this project, I will continue to support the effort to protect and preserve our Ko‘olau Mountains and the surrounding Kāne‘ohe area near Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Gardens from development.