State sheriff’s deputies this morning swept 70 homeless people and their dogs who had set up camp along a Nimitz Highway bike path in Mapunapuna after they were forced out of homeless encampments underneath the adjacent H-1 freeway airport viaduct on Oct. 23.
Asked where she will go next, Brenda Meheula, 61, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “Don’t got the faintest idea.”
None of the nearly two dozen people interviewed by the Star-Advertiser today along the bike path said they planned to move into a shelter, and instead would find somewhere else to sleep tonight.
Meheula and her brother, David Roque, 52, said they had been living under the viaduct for 15 years and had been swept eight or nine times. They had six dogs with them today and said they would not give them up in order to move into a shelter.
The sweep is likely the last big one for the state this year on Oahu, said Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator.
Sweeps conducted along the H-1 and Nimitz Highway corridors this year, including persistent efforts to keep tents from reappearing along Nimitz Highway medians, have seen 80 people move into shelters since July, Morishige said.
The key to keeping public areas clear and getting help for homeless people relies on “having a regular presence along the H-1, Nimitz corridor,” Morishige said.
Friday’s sweep follows bigger ones that cleared 180 people out of Kakaako Waterfront Park and its sister parks on Oct. 3, followed by the Oct. 23 sweep of 120 people from underneath the H-1 freeway viaduct.
On Friday, deputies cleared 55 to 65 homeless people who had set up camp outside Kakaako’s Next Step homeless shelter after they were swept out of the Kakaako parks.