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Posted: Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 1:18 PM HST

Bill aims to help homeless into private homes

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) People who work but are still homeless would get help moving into rooms for rent in private homes if Hawaii lawmakers pass a bill that could expand a state housing program.

A bill before the state House might widen Housing First, a program that aims to find permanent housing for homeless people. Lawmakers who considered the bill Monday suggested including private rental housing, such as in people's homes or in guest housing, in the program.

An administrator from the state's Department of Human Services testified in opposition to the bill, saying homeowners might not be equipped to handle some homeless people's mental health problems.

Forty-five of every 10,000 people in Hawaii are homeless, the highest rate of any state, according to a 2012 report by the Homelessness Research Institute.

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