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Area’s councilman opposes shelter plan at Sand Island

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Mayor Kirk Caldwell, center, talked about the city’s plan to build container-style shelter units for the chronically homeless at the proposed building site on Sand Island Tuesday. He provided maps and diagrams of the facility named Hale Mauliola after the Hawaiian goddess of health and well-being.

The city’s plan to build container-style shelter units at Sand Island for the chronically homeless is a "piecemeal" approach and will only shift the problem from one area of the island to another, the district’s City Council member said.

Councilman Joey Manahan said he cannot support the plan, unveiled Tuesday by Mayor Kirk Caldwell, which would place 25 modified shipping containers on a vacant lot to provide emergency housing for 75 to 100 homeless for about two months each as service providers work to get them into more-permanent housing.

"Without a definite plan of how the homeless on Kapalama Canal will be relocated to Sand Island and into permanent housing, I cannot support this proposal," Manahan said in a written statement. "All this proposal will do is expand the homeless problem from one part of my district to another.

"If the administration insists on a piecemeal approach to this problem rather than a comprehensive plan of action, then we will always fall short of a long-term solution to the problem of homelessness," Manahan said.

City officials said the new facility, known as Hale Mauliola, will provide a safer alternative for homeless.

"Hale Mauliola will be a place homeless individuals can go to avoid disruption, be safe and get help," Roy Amemiya, the city’s managing director, said in a written statement. "It will provide an immediate alternative for Kapalama Canal campers and other homeless people to move into a safer, healthier place to live while service providers work to find them permanent supportive housing."

Each of the retrofitted 8-by-20-foot containers would contain three to four living units. Showers and other bathroom facilities will be housed separately and the plan also features a communal dining facility.

Initial construction would cost about $500,000 to build the modular units, common areas and infrastructure, with support services forecast to run about $1.5 million annually, the city said.

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