The Housing, Human Services and Transportation Committee is charged with the oversight of the Department of Housing and Human Services, the Department of Transportation, social services programs, affordable housing programs and associated grants.
As chairwoman of the committee, I've had the opportunity to promote awareness of the role that Maui's nonprofit organizations play in our community. The funding the county provides translates into job creation as well as educational and youth service opportunities, which enhance the quality of life in Maui County.
The committee has also been able to flesh out and address many of the community's concerns regarding the vital transportation services that Maui County provides and funds.
One of the recent successes in transportation was the establishment of a special bus pass for persons with physician-certified disabilities. This pass is for fixed bus routes, excluding paratransit and commuter routes.
For what used to be a $45 fee, qualified applicants may now purchase their monthly bus passes for $30.
On Wednesday at 9 a.m., the Housing, Human Services and Transportation Committee will review management of the Hale Makana O Waiale Rental Rehabilitation Facility, an affordable-housing project in Wailuku.
The facility's manager, Maui Economic Concerns of the Community Inc., received a $5.8 million loan from the county in 1996 and another $2.8 million from the county's Housing Interim Financing and Buy-Back Revolving Fund in 1997 to develop Hale Makana O Waiale. This year, the council appropriated another $500,000 from the Affordable Housing Fund to rehabilitate the aging facility.
The outstanding debt and request for additional funding have raised questions concerning the facility's management, and it is the committee's intention to take a look at Hale Makana O Waiale's operations. Whether the challenge lies in outdated accounting systems or lack of an independent audit, the committee will review and compare best practices from other jurisdictions to determine the next steps for this entity.
While the facility offers tremendous support to our homeless population, we must also be vigilant with our finances.
We pride ourselves in having adequate shelter programs for our homeless population. Without these services, the consequences will be passed on to our taxpayers.
My priority has always been to create a healthier community - a place where people thrive and live to the fullest of their potential, regardless of their circumstances. I believe this can be achieved with due diligence and collaboration among the various sectors of the community.
Maui County is our home, and it is our obligation to look after one another.
It has been nearly six months since beginning this new journey with the Maui County Council. I've been honored with the opportunity to serve the people of Maui County, and this responsibility will be pursued with objectivity and aloha.
I look forward to a continued dialogue and fluid exchange of ideas in our council and committee meetings.
Committee agendas are available at www.mauicounty.gov/committees/HHT.
* Stacy Crivello holds the County Council's Molokai residency seat. She is the chairwoman of the Housing, Human Services and Transportation Committee. "Chair's 3 Minutes" is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.