Statewide Office on Homelessness and Housing Solutions (SOHHS).
SOHHS is established by Act 252, Session Laws of Hawaii 2022, and is administratively attached to the Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS). SOHHS is headed by the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness and is statutorily mandated to:
(1) Work with State, county, and community agencies to develop solutions to prevent and end homelessness in the State through transitional and permanent housing and supportive or assisted services, or both; and
(2) Develop and test innovative solutions to prevent and end homelessness in the State.
The office is also tasked with identifying and addressing gaps in the homeless service system; providing administrative support to the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness (HICH); and establishing and maintaining a statewide homelessness and housing data clearinghouse.
Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness (GCH).
The Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness (GCH) is appointed by the Governor pursuant to section 346-381.5, HRS, and is the point person for all homeless issues in the state. The GCH works closely with the Governor and his cabinet to provide broad policy direction and coordination for the many stakeholders in Hawai’i addressing the issue of homelessness. This position also heads the SOHHS and serves as the Chair of the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness (HICH).
The Hawai‘i Interagency Council on Homelessness (HICH) is an advisory body, modeled after the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, that serves as a statewide homelessness planning and policy development entity with broad representation from State and County government and the community. The HICH is established in statute through section 346-381, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), is chaired by the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness and consists of 27 members from federal, state, and local government and the private sector.
Meet Our SOHHS Team.
The SOHHS is supported by a staff of four positions: Homelessness Special Assistant; Homelessness Assistant; Homelessness Community and Development Specialist; and Homelessness Administrative Assistant. In addition, the office has previously hosted a combination of policy and social work student interns from institutions including the University of California at Berkeley, University of Hawaii at Mānoa, and the Harvard Kennedy School.
Other State Department Homeless Coordinators.
Certain State Departments have their own designated Homeless Coordinator to coordinate and align efforts within their agencies. The SOHHS works closely with coordinators from the Hawaii Department of Transportation, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Hawaii Department of Education to address homelessness statewide.