Homeless going back to sites the city cleared
Hawaii News

Homeless going back to sites the city cleared

  • Jamm Aquino / jaquino@staradvertiser.com

    A man named Vito ate his dinner, a Reese’s peanut butter cup, as he gathered his belongings near his tent on Ohe Street on Monday.

At least 50 people continue to camp along the parks and sidewalks of Kakaako makai despite ongoing efforts by state and city officials to move the homeless elsewhere.

On Monday afternoon, at least a dozen tents and tarps dotted the lawns of two Kakaako “gateway” parks abutting Ohe Street, along both sides of Ilalo Street.

Several street dwellers told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that after being pushed out of Kewalo Basin and Kakaako Waterfront Park the week before Christmas by the state for violating night park closure laws, they returned to the sidewalks along Ohe — where they had been ousted in the preceding weeks for running afoul of the city’s sidewalk nuisance and stored property ordinances — and been left alone for the most part.

On Monday morning, they said, they were told by authorities it was OK to pitch their tents in the two parks as long as they stayed off the sidewalks, even though there are signs on trees in the parks clearly stating they are closed from 10 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. daily.

Charade Keane said the constant uprooting has been stressful for her and her boyfriend, who works at a regular job, especially during the holidays. It’s been even tougher for the families around her that have young children, she said.

Keane said she’s finally agreed, with the coaxing of a social worker from Safe Haven Honolulu, to move into a unit in Chinatown. She and her boyfriend will need to live separately for a while, but she feels the urge to take the plunge now. If successful in the move, Keane said, “Then I can come back and tell the others here it’s OK to do it.”

She’d like to be able to trust government officials who assure her they’re trying to help, Keane said, but she finds it difficult to do when “you guys keep pushing (solutions) off like it’s not an emergency.”

Scott Morishige, Gov. David Ige’s coordinator on homelessness, said plans to convert a 5,000-square-foot maintenance shed near Kakaako Waterfront Park into a temporary transitional shelter are on pace to be completed in February. The 24-hour facility is expected to accommodate 60 individuals or 15 families at a time, with stays of up to 90 days. The focus will likely be on serving families, he said.

Beyond that, Morishige said, the state is continuing to work with contracted social workers to provide the Kakaako homeless “continued outreach on a regular basis into that area … making sure we’re offering anyone who’s homeless in that area access to shelter as well as other housing resources.”

Recently, five families that had been living in the Kewalo Basin area were moved into permanent housing through the state’s Housing First program, which is aimed at the chronically homeless population, Morishige said.

The governor’s recent emergency proclamation allowed for funding of the program to be increased, he said.

“It can happen really quickly and we’ve seen some success stories,” he said. “It does take time for people to make the decision to transition out of homelessness and into housing.”

Meanwhile, the city conducted a block-by-block clearing of campers through the early fall and has continued to conduct “maintenance enforcement” along Ilalo, Ohe and nearby streets.

Ross Sasamura, the city’s facility maintenance director, said the aim is keeping the sidewalks clear. “Sidewalks are not a place for people to inhabit at any time,” but for people to travel, he said.

Sidewalk enforcement has been taking place in Kakaako makai “once a week at minimum,” and two times or more if needed — “depending on the availability of resources and other subsequent complaints,” he said.

Most recently, the city reported, enforcement actions were conducted in Kakaako Makai on Dec. 14 and again Dec. 17, storing no private property and removing 2.83 tons of trash. Sasamura said he did not know whether an action took place Monday morning.

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  • The homeless problem is deeper than Governor and the Mayor understand. They came from families with silver spoons in their mouths. But the homeless in turn have a victim attitude, “its not my fault”, well maybe it is if you use drugs, drink alcohol and do not follow rules.

    • FrieddyCat, the Mayor was born in Waipahu and grad from UH Law. Governor Ige is full-on middle class, did extremely well in public schools in Pearl City and earned an engineering degree at UH. You look very foolish mentioning silver spoons in their mouths. Please google their biography to gain insight on these men’s lives.

        • Workingrl, privileged childhoods don’t occur in Waipahu and public school. Also, the fact that Kirk attended Tufts and UH Law still doesn’t mean he had a privileged childhood. I know many people who attended Boston College, MIT, Dartmouth and NYU who enjoyed middle-class childhoods. East Coast colleges are not privy to rich families alone. FWIW, silver spoons are not that common. They belong to royalty or super rich families in the top 2 percent of personal wealth, not middle or upper-middle class.

    • The homless team made up of our mighty leaders are now back in each of their corners, spinning all of their wheels separately. There is no team work, was all for the press release phto-op back in october or september. Agree totally with alliie, they havent a clue . Perhaps they should ask the guy on vacation in kailua?

        • Take over a golf course using “Eminent Domain,” any golf course will do. Build high rise apartments using storage containers (search Google for images), or use large 3D printers to build housing like being done in China (again, search Google), using current building codes. Housing units would only be for homeless, with areas divided for single and family uses. Using same construction, add offices for administration, security, and health services. Also, add buildings for the now non-homeless to use for training/work in various skills, such as an automotive repair shop, grocery store, etc. The businesses would employee only the resident now non-homeless, but the goods and services could be provided to the general public. Money generated would be used to pay the now non-homeless workers, and facility maintenance. Also, a large portion of the land could be used for agriculture, to grow vegetables, fruits, and houseplants, etc., with related jobs just for the now non-homeless. There will be some that are incapable, or too stubborn to participate, and their issues can be handles on a case-by-case basis. The main things are that they homeless would have housing away from the business/vacation areas, be isolated in a secured, maintained area, and they’d provided with a respectable place to live and work, access to healthcare, and assistance in re-establishing their lives. And, STRICTLY enforce any further panhandling/vagrancy laws! No more nonsense. It would cost some money up front, but is far better solution than throwing money away doing sweeps.

    • Yup! the have been around since the Dinosaurs age. Trouble is Not Governor or Mayor, but the ACLU – we can not Force The Hobos/Vagrants to take care of themselves The LAW to allow us to do that was rescinded because of the ACLU (commies)

  • Whoever is running this circus, needs to understand that you have to act quickly with the Homeless. They know the game and play it well. Every night they have to get out there and move them out. Find them a safe place whether it be Sand Island or somewhere else. Act quickly and “have a plan”

  • There are some folks, that I can’t for the life of me imagine how they are able to stay there. They have built with wood, an enclosure under the bridge, visible coming from the airport on Nimitz as you come from under H1 and merging to Nimitz. It looks like a small apartment they have built using the overpass as a roof. There always is a fairly decent looking car parked out front as well. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is up with that ? No Rent, No Utilities and a mighty strong roof over their head. Now that’s living in Paradise.

  • I knew from the beginning that homeless sweeps is not the answer. Now look our money is being wasted on bad decisions of our great leaders that have no clue on what’s going on. Look at all the projects going on around us. We are losing money on all of them.

  • Don’t be so hard on them. For many folks living pay check to pay check, and with taxes going up to pay for Rail and wages stalled, they are not far off from also being homeless.

    • Absolutely. There will always be a segment of the homeless population that will not accept shelter. We all know that, so this should come as no surprise. Since we cannot force them into shelter all we can do is make sure they do not set up an encampment. So the sweeps just go on and on. Its not that the government has no clue, I suspect they know that this population of homeless exists and throughout the history of Honolulu there has always been homeless people who chose not to live in housing. So in fact this is no news at all, and it is not a symbol of government failure or neglect. Its a phenomenon that is a part of our society and has been for decades. Everyone just needs to relax and let the system go on. Sweeps will continue because the government will have to prevent the establishment of large encampments in urban Honolulu, those that do not want to go to shelter will remain on the streets by their own choice, the media will continue to cover the story in a way that will be sympathetic to the homeless because that’s what they do.

      • Mahalo and Happy Holidays Cheesy. I feel for the locals that became homeless in Waianae. They pretty much inherited poverty. Choosing solidarity way out there must have been nice back when you could just live day to day off the land. These people never made the transition to real jobs. Where does one find work in Waianae? Once the land is taken away by government and development where do they go? Where would you go? What would your state of mind be? Bitter or up to the challenge of making a new life in town where you neither belong or are accepted? Do we treat them like disobedient pets? Pests? I believe we have 4 choices. Help them, ignore them, jail them, or exterminate and destroy them. These are human beings. Let’s think about this as fellow residents of Hawaii. They may not deserve it but it may be better to give them a confined designated area much like Indian reservations. Problem is we live on tiny islands. Politicians better start looking at Kahoolawe as viable right now!

  • If there is space available in a shelter, whoever is caught camping on the sidewalks should be arrested. Immediately, not next week, or next month, not after this study or that decision making meeting. Sweeps should be conducted EVERY night, not every month or every two months or whenever the mayor feels a need to appease the public. The only way to deal with this problem is by being consistent. And that guy in the picture? Looks able bodied to me. Either put him in a shelter and put him to work, or arrest him and put him in jail.

    • Agree. The only solution for homeless is for those able bodies to get jobs, and those with mental or other illnesses to get treatments. House them in shelters but they must abide by rules (absolutely no drugs/alcohol) and perform labor work (i.e. cleaning the parks, sidewalks) to pay for their rent. They must learn to be responsible.

  • The homeless have been a problem since before Christ but how can this happen in such large numbers in this day and age full of wondrous technology in the US of A? Our government spends billions abroad for poorer countries and wars to protect others but neglect our less fortunate Americans at home? More refugees? Is there something wrong with this picture? Our leaders have brought us to a point in history where our great nation cannot sustain jobs and support for it’s own people. Blah blah thanks for reading my rant. Happy New Year everyone….

    • Worse now due to larger split between rich and poor, and the fact many middle class are falling into the poor class due to stagnation of what was once a “working class” wage. And that to the fact our politicians keep raising taxes pushes more peeps to homelessness. LA has a homeless camp of something like 100,000 peeps.

  • If you want to get serious about homelessness, you have to bring the stick along with the carrot. Enough with trying to “cajole” them into shelters. That is too slow and frankly, will not work with many. Sad to say you’ll need to force them to move for their own good. The detriment needs to be greater.

  • My solution:

    Take over a golf course using “Eminent Domain,” any golf course will do. Build high rise apartments using storage containers (search Google for images), or use large 3D printers to build housing like being done in China (again, search Google), using current building codes. Housing units would only be for homeless, with areas divided for single and family uses. Using same construction, add offices for administration, security, and health services. Also, add buildings for the now non-homeless to use for training/work in various skills, such as an automotive repair shop, grocery store, etc. The businesses would employee only the resident now non-homeless, but the goods and services could be provided to the general public. Money generated would be used to pay the now non-homeless workers, and facility maintenance. Also, a large portion of the land could be used for agriculture, to grow vegetables, fruits, and houseplants, etc., with related jobs just for the now non-homeless. There will be some that are incapable, or too stubborn to participate, and their issues can be handles on a case-by-case basis. The main things are that they homeless would have housing away from the business/vacation areas, be isolated in a secured, maintained area, and they’d provided with a respectable place to live and work, access to healthcare, and assistance in re-establishing their lives. And, STRICTLY enforce any further panhandling/vagrancy laws! No more nonsense. It would cost some money up front, but is far better solution than throwing money away doing sweeps.

  • What’s the problem?? Simple solution- Sweep Homeless from breaking laws again!!! After X amount of unpaid citations “Jail Time”. It will make outsiders think twice about coming to Hawaii and try to make a living being homeless in paradise. Homeless should follow the same rules and laws as people with homes.

  • I feel for the indigenous locals that became homeless in Waianae. They pretty much inherited poverty. Choosing solidarity way out there must have been nice back when you could just live day to day off the land. These people never made the transition to real jobs. Where does one find work in Waianae? Once the land is taken away by government and developers where do they go? Where would you go? What would your state of mind be? Bitter or up to the challenge of making a new life in town where you neither belong or are accepted? Do we treat them like disobedient pets? Pests? I believe we have 4 choices. Help them, ignore them, jail them, or exterminate and destroy them. These are human beings. Let’s think about this as fellow residents of Hawaii. They may not deserve it but it may be better to give them a confined designated area much like Indian reservations. Problem is we live on tiny islands. Politicians better start looking at Kahoolawe as viable right now!

    • Saveparadise. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Dispite. my lack of education, I tried my best before asking for help. Not bad for a GED educated millionaire.

      • Mikey, what lessons in life did you learn along the way? Did you learn to share? Humility is not your strong point. I get your message and these people need more than just charity. Just as we would never fit into their world they do not fit in ours. Either we try to convert them or cast them out.

  • The goal, first and foremost, is to stop the influx of mainland homeless from relocating here. Then we can distribute our limited resources to local individuals and families. I’ve volunteered at IHS and River of Life. So many mainland individuals with luggage tags still on their bags getting free food and services. If I were to speculate, our local homeless population has remained the same but Hawaii is attracting more out-of-state homeless than before.

    Programs like Housing First certainly helps to promote Hawaii as the premier homeless destination. If you abuse drugs, Hawaii will give you free housing. And you can continue your drug use in your new house! Talk about living the american dream…

  • So many scumbags commenting on here. These are PEOPLE. Have we no compassion? Are we all so far removed from the possibility of not having a home or a job that we can look down our noses at people who are struggling? What kind of aloha spirit is that?

    I have a college degree and a job. I’m a SINGLE paycheck away from being homeless. One mistake at work or one extended period of illness and I could be living on the street.

    Everyone here calling these people cockroaches, talking about impounding their belongings, or deigning to believe that only drugs, alcohol, and poor choices got these people where they are can go pound sand. You’re a disgrace.

  • No deterrent, no surprise.

    For their own good, put them in jail, and take all their belongings. In no time, you will find them off the streets and in shelters preparing for a better life.

    Sometimes, tough love is the only way and we’ve reached that point (passed it actually).

  • Why is this news? This is what always happens. Maybe Caldwell can jump on his box again to say what a wonderful job he is doing with the homeless and the Mufi/Carlisle/Caldwell/City Council bottomless pit AKA Rail from nowhere to nowhere near UH.

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