Thirty long-term camps on the sides of Diamond Head State Monument have been cleaned up since Monday, when the weeklong project began, state Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said today.
Campers were given two weeks’ notice of the action, which included removal of possessions, including tents and makeshift structures, as well as trash, DLNR spokesman Dan Dennison said.
Law enforcement support was provided by officers from DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and by officers from the Honolulu Police Department District 7 Community Policing Team, while a private contractor stored or disposed of items removed from the camp sites, agency officials announced.
Beyond cleanups and enforcement of “no camping” rules, outreach and housing are also being addressed in a program taking place at state parks throughout the islands, Pua Aiu, homeless coordinator for DLNR, said in the statement.
“Housing is a piece, outreach is a piece, and enforcement is a piece of the plan and if you don’t have all three, it’s not going to work,” Aiu said, adding that interagency state and city partnerships were integral to the effort.
“Having HPD join us has been very helpful because they can easily make connections between what may be happening in Waikiki and what’s happening on Diamond Head,” she said.
Other key partners include case workers from the Institute for Human Services, the City T.E.A.M. Work Hawaii program, and social work students from the University of Hawai’i Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health, who assist in outreach and notification to homeless individuals prior to the enforcement; this outreach is offered in alliance with shelter and housing programs, such as the city’s Housing and Outreach Navigation for Unsheltered (HONU) program, operated by HPD.
DLNR staff can call for a pick-up and transport to HONU, which Aiu offered to homeless individuals during the clean-up.
Even if an individual declines HONU assistance, outreach is critical, so that if a person is encountered again “we don’t have to start from scratch on that person,” Aiu said. “We know what their needs are, who their case manager is, and we can pick up where we left off.”
The clean-up at Diamond Head, part of a statewide, coordinated effort to manage threats to natural and cultural resources on state lands, was planned to take a week but may wrap up earlier, Dennison said.
Throughout April, DLNR will continue clean-ups at locations including Kapena Falls, Sand Island State Recreational Area, and on unencumbered lands in Kapolei and Leeward Oahu.
For more information about the state’s approach to homelessness, visit homelessness.hawaii.gov. People can also call 586-0193 or e-mail email@example.com to report concerns about homelessness on state lands.