POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 30, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 6:54 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2011
Question: A year after officials cleared homeless encampments from under ramps at the H-1 Freeway’s Middle Street interchange, it looks like people are setting up tents again under the ramps and overpasses. With the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference coming in November, what is the state doing about this?
Answer: The state last cleared the area in February and schedules such clearances about every six months, said Dan Meisenzahl, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
No specific date has been scheduled for the next cleanup, he said. That could take place in August or September, but it will more than likely be done in late October or early November, closer to the date of the APEC meeting, Meisenzahl said.
“It’s a vicious cycle; after we clean out the area, they (the homeless) return a couple weeks later,” Meisenzahl said.
Before the February cleanup, state workers last cleared the homeless encampment in July 2010. Thirty to 40 people were living there.
Marc Alexander, state homelessness programs coordinator, said there has not been a growing problem under the airport viaduct.
People who live at the site are notified a week and a half before the clearing begins.
Workers with Waikiki Health Center’s Care-A-Van, an outreach program for homeless, go to the site to inform homeless people of the services available to them.
Clearing the area takes about two weeks. During past cleanups, the state Department of Transportation hauled away more than 100 truckloads of trash.
Meisenzahl said there have been talks to assign personnel to monitor the area, but there are not enough resources to do so.
This update was written by Paige L. Jinbo. Suggest a topic for “Whatever Happened To …” by writing Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4747; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.