City crews officially notified an estimated 20 to 25 homeless people living on the outskirts of the Kakaako homeless encampment on Tuesday that they must be out by Sept. 8, as the city begins the long slog of clearing out nearly 300 people over the next several months.
At Gov. David Ige’s request, Mayor Kirk Caldwell had delayed initiating the first of a series of sweeps until enough shelter beds became available for the mostly single adults living on the edges of the encampment that winds around the University of Hawaii medical school and Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center.
But several homeless people living in the first targeted area between Cooke and Ohe streets, mauka of Ilalo Street, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Tuesday that they have no intention of relocating to a shelter.
“A shelter? No,” said Linda Hill, 57, who just moved her tent to Ohe Street a couple of days ago. “It’s just dirty. No.”
Wayne James, 58, said he went to the Institute for Human Services, Hawaii’s largest emergency shelter, last week to inquire about space for him and his wife, Mi Suk James, 60. As he left, an IHS client told James that IHS has bed bugs.
“Mi Suk can’t handle no bed bugs and I’m allergic,” James said. “I’ll probably go back to the University area and stay doorway to doorway. Sweeping us, it’s going to be crazy. Where are all these people going to go?”