Dear Mayor Caldwell and the Honolulu City and County Council,
My name is [NAME] and I am a resident of Honolulu. I am writing to demand that Honolulu adopts a budget that prioritizes community wellbeing, and redirects funding away from the police.
In 2019, the City and County of Honolulu allocated $295,681,922 to our police. This is compared to just $112 million budgeted for ALL Community Services. Only $10.2 million was projected to be spent on the Housing First Program.
According to lthawaii.gov there are approximately 15,000 homeless people in Hawai’i. By diverting funds from the HPD budget of $296 million to the Housing First Project, we could drastically reduce this number. Further studies show this could reduce the amount of visits to the ER and healthcare centers from these individuals by 64% and the number of arrests by 61% (I have included the source of this data below) Spending the resources to properly help the homeless community will not only increase their quality of life, but promote city safety and save our city money. This is just one example of how divesting from the police could improve our city.
I demand that the City Council begin meaningfully defunding the Honolulu Police Department and re-allocate those funds to programs proven to more effectively promote a safe and equitable community: community-based mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, affordable housing programs, and more. I demand a budget that reflects the actual needs of Honolulu.
History has shown that police "reform" is not enough. We must take a hard look at the ways that the current system in place fails to serve--and in fact actively harms--our community, and come together to reimagine the role of police in our city.
Thank you for your time,
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE NUMBER]