THE U.S. SENATE HAS UNANIMOUSLY PASSED a measure authored by Sen. Mazie Hirono to improve the ability of Native Hawaiian-serving organizations to assist homeless veterans. Hirono attached this amendment to the Helping Homeless Veterans Act during a hearing of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in July. “It is heartbreaking that so many veterans in Hawai`i and across the nation struggle to put a roof over their heads,” Hirono said. “While much work remains to be done to eliminate veteran homelessness, this measure passed by the Senate is a positive step for Native Hawaiian, American Indian and Alaska Native veterans, helping them access critical legal services. All of our veterans deserve our continued support.”
|Sen. Mazie Hirono|
The Helping Homeless Veterans Act improves assistance to homeless veterans and their dependents by expanding the definition of “homeless veteran” to include those fleeing domestic violence, increasing access to dental care and allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase the number of veterans from transitional housing programs to permanent housing. Hirono’s amendment includes organizations that serve Native Hawaiians and other Native populations among the entities the VA can consider in distributing partnerships to provide legal services to homeless veterans. These services could include eviction defense, representation in landlord-tenant cases, assistance in obtaining public benefits related to income support, defense in matters symptomatic of homelessness and services related to family law. The bill is still pending approval by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 110,000 veterans live in Hawai`i. In 2012, the VA estimated 5.5 percent of Hawai`i veterans – more than 6,000 – were unemployed. In 2009, the VA estimated that Hawai`i has almost 500 homeless veterans.
KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD earlier this month joined Secretary of State John Kerry to launch the U.S. Department of State’s Veterans Innovation Partnership.
“These public-private partnerships give us the opportunity to benefit from the skills veterans have developed through their experiences, their commitment to service, their ability to act under pressure and make decisions, to lead and to put the mission first,” Gabbard told the audience, many of whom were veterans. “For so many of my friends whom I’ve had the privilege of serving with, this is a tremendous opportunity that will open many doors empowering our veterans to continue to serve.”
|U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard joined Secretary of State John Kerry in the launch of|
Veterans Innovation Partnership. State Department Photo by Michael Gross
VIP aims to help build and deploy strategic partnerships between the U.S. government and U.S. private sector to mobilize resources and build networks to promote foreign affairs career opportunities for veterans.
VIP fellowships are open to veterans who have completed a master’s degree in the fields of international business or international relations. Applicants must apply within two years of graduate degree completion, except for veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation, who will have up to six years after degree completion to apply. Successful applicants are placed in a dynamic developmental program.
Gabbard thanked Kerry for his leadership on this initiative, noting his service in the U.S. Navy and decades of advocacy on behalf of veterans.
For further information about VIP, contact Maura Hogan in the Global Partnerships Office at HoganM@state.gov or 202-647-9268, or visit state.gov/s/partnerships/vip/index.htm.
A NEWLY RELEASED DRAFT DOCUMENT for the Ka`u Community Development Plan, Appendix V4C: Local Economic Development Analysis, identifies opportunities for Ka`u in several industries – agriculture, renewable energy, payment for ecosystem services, health and wellness, creative/education/research, visitor, retail and construction.
It lists specific opportunities by sector that include:
|Park volunteers George Jensen, left, and Paul Field|
salute asranger Keoni Kaholoa`a raises the flags outside
KilaueaVisitor Center. NPS photo by Jay Robinson
“Creative, Education, & Research: Due to the area’s significant natural and cultural assets as well as the growth trends in the creative, educational, and research sectors, there is considerable employment and entrepreneurial potential in these sectors in Ka`u. Specifically, potential appears high in music, cultural activities and natural resource management as well as education and research in agriculture, environmental science, Hawaiian studies and geology.
“Visitors: By pursuing initiatives that preserve Ka`u’s natural and cultural resources; perpetuate Ka`u’s traditions; and are scaled to strengthen its sense of community, history and identity, real connections and relationships of reciprocity can be made with people from around the world who visit Ka`u. Consistent with the place-based, Native Hawaiian ho`okipa model, the focus could be on place-based 35 investments, agri-, eco-, edu- and wellness tourism and authentic experiences for repeat visitors.
“Retail: Overall, the potential for growth in the retail sector in Ka`u is modest, but opportunities may lie in concurrent development with other emerging sectors, expanding business support networks and resources and the promotion of locally produced services and goods.
“Construction: The construction sector is still struggling, particularly with new homes, so limited, future construction growth will likely be in home remodeling and opportunities created by growth in other sectors.”
Appendix V4C explores these opportunities and challenges in more detail. It is available to read at kaucdp.info and at area libraries and community centers.
Ka`u CDP Steering Committee will discuss the document at its meeting tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center.
The public can comment on the document at the meeting and submit testimony through Dec. 16 using a feedback form at kaucdp.info.
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK waives entrance fees today in recognition of Veteran’s Day.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S Veteran’s Day ceremony is Lt. Col. Eric Shwedo, of Pohakuloa Training Area, and guest speaker is SMSgt. Makani Miller. The event begins at 3 p.m. on the Front Lawn.
After the ceremony, a buffet is available at Crater Rim Café.
|Ka`u residents can help Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park plant trees|
at Kahuku Unit Friday. Photo from FHVNP
POKE, FROM THE OCEAN TO YOUR TABLE is the topic Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. April Kekoa and Teana Kaho`ohanohano share their knowledge of preparing this popular island dish that usually consists of bite-size pieces of raw, fresh fish mixed with seaweed and kukui nut relish. Free; park entrance fees apply.
FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is looking for Ka`u residents who would like to help with a forest restoration project at the park’s Kahuku unit Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants plant native seedlings in a fenced enclosure where the plants will be protected from grazing animals. “We will learn about the park’s native forest restoration program at Kahuku and be able to see the start of natural recovery of the forest,” said coordinator Pat Kupchak. “This will be a fun day outdoors enjoying a beautiful area before the busy holiday season.”
Pre-registration is required. Call 985-7373 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.