The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs plans next week to sweep the last remnants of a homeless encampment from the agency’s property in Wahiawa near some historic birthing stones.
Social service outreach workers had recently counted as many as 17 encampments in an overgrown area on 511 acres of OHA property, said OHA spokesman Garett Kamemoto. But this week only five people remained, he said.
Outreach teams from Kalihi-Palama Health Center and the Institute for Human Services encouraged homeless people in the area to move out and seek assistance, Kamemoto said.
Landscaping crews cut the grass near the culturally significant birthing stones, where royal babies were born.
On Wednesday crews will move into a denser area where the remaining homeless people have been camping out. Outreach workers will offer transportation to shelters and other assistance and state sheriff’s deputies will enforce trespassing violations, Kamemoto said.
“There’s a lot of trash dumped there and we’re going to go in and clean it up,” he said. “Then we’ll clear the area so you can see inside and people can’t hide.”
The encampment is hardly the biggest in Wahiawa. Larger encampments are located around Lake Wilson and on nearby government and private property.
Regarding its property, OHA said in a statement: “OHA believes this is a health and safety issue with hazardous conditions at the site and reports of illegal activity. OHA and social service providers have reached out to those illegally camping on its property numerous times over the past two years to offer assistance. OHA provided official notice to those camping on the property last week. A second notice was given (Wednesday) and additional notices will be given next week prior to the enforcement action.”
OHA said that “security patrols will monitor the site to ensure the property remains clear.”