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Hawaii News

Temporary homeless shelter goes up in Hilo

Hawaii County officials have designated a parking lot as a temporary resting area for homeless people who occupy an area in and around a storm drain in downtown Hilo.

The move began Friday ahead of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ scheduled assessment of the drainage system, Hawaii County said in a news release.

The parking lot, managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation, is located off Ponahawai Street behind the Hele gas station.

The county chose the location to allow the residents to stay together rather than move to business fronts, the county said.

The relocation is expected to last through August, “providing stability while long-term solutions are being developed,” it said.

Mayor Mitch Roth said: “This temporary site is a critical measure to ensure the safety and well-being of our unsheltered community members.

“We are committed to providing safe and reliable care while permanent housing options are being prepared.”

The mayor, the Office of Housing and Community Development, Department of Parks and Recreation, and various nonprofit service providers worked together in the relocation efforts for a smooth transition.

“This cooperation highlights our community’s dedication to compassionately addressing the needs of our most vulnerable residents,” Roth added.

Hawaii County is collaborating with The Salvation Army Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division to open a new homeless shelter in downtown Hilo in late August, providing a permanent evening shelter for the unsheltered in the area, the county said.

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