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Hawaii considers moving homeless before APEC

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 7:03 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2011

Hawaii’s homeless could be given places to sleep in advance of November’s conference of world leaders in Honolulu.

Lawmakers were holding a hearing Thursday on the idea of creating “safe zones” where the homeless could choose to stay on designated areas of state land.

The proposal aims to provide the world an untarnished image of Hawaii as a tourist destination, help the homeless and save taxpayer money.

House Human Services Committee Chairman John Mizuno says tourism is the state’s top industry, and the government needs to prepare now before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting arrives.

Leaders from the state, city, nonprofit groups and private businesses were expected to attend the meeting on the feasibility of starting a “safe zone” test in tourist-filled Waikiki.

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