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State sweeps homeless from Kakaako parks

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A homeless man pushes his belongings past state sheriffs at Kakaako Waterfront Park in Honolulu Sunday night as state crews and officials clear the area of homeless dwellings and belongings.

State sheriffs were stationed at entry points at Kakaako Waterfront Park early today after the state closed the park indefinitely for safety reasons.

Sheriff vehicles also were patrolling the parks before dawn today.

Fewer than 100 homeless people were observed at waterfront, Gateway and Kewalo Basin parks Sunday night before deputy sheriffs arrived and cleared the area.

Reports of fires, dog attacks and vandalism prompted the Hawaii Community Development Authority last week to announce the indefinite closure of the parks for safety reasons and to conduct repairs, which were estimated to cost $500,000.

Between Tuesday and Sunday night, outreach workers placed 32 people into a shelter including families with children, according to state homeless coordinator Scott Morishige.

“Outreach teams are going to continue to come out to this area, make sure they can talk to people who may have been displaced and really continue to link them to shelter and housing,” Morishige said today.

HCDA officials are expected to arrive at the parks to assess the areas.

Sitting on a folded blanket on the sidewalk behind the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, Dayna Maiolu, 42, who has lived at Kakaako Waterfront Park for the past few months, said, “Many of of us can’t go to shelters because of our pets. We are not willing to give them up.”

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