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Maui pilot project would allow sleeping in cars at parks

People would be allowed to sleep in their vehicles overnight at a county park under a pilot project introduced by a Maui County Council member.

The measure calling for the “use of vehicles for human habitation” at South Maui Regional Park was referred Nov. 17 to the council’s Housing, Human Services and Transportation Committee, The Maui News reported .

Council Member Kelly King is pushing for the program. It will test if a broader ordinance would be doable and will give homeless families that have a car a place with access to bathrooms, she said.

State law prohibits people from living in their vehicles on public property. But King said the law allows counties wiggle room to enact bills.

The program would involve people registering to stay the night.

Department of Parks and Recreation Director Ka’ala Buenconsejo said he supports the program as long as it is funded and supervised the proper way.

“We are having meetings to discuss a possible resolution,” he said.

Maui police officer Taylor Kamakawiwo’ole is also on board for the program. He said the project could give families a safer place to sleep and allow children a safe place to rest “so they can study harder and get better grades as well.”

He estimated 15 to 20 families or individuals sleep in their vehicles in the Kihei area and said South Maui Regional Park is a good place because it is not near residential backyards.

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