Illegal Homeless Camps a Growing Problem - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Illegal Homeless Camps a Growing Problem

Shina Shina
Cathie Alana Cathie Alana
Todd Apo Todd Apo

By Mari-Ela David

WAIANAE (KHNL) - Harrassment and robberies, some residents along the Waianae coast say that's what they encounter when they go to Leeward beaches.

They say illegal homeless camps there are becoming more hostile. Upset residents say they plan to get the government's attention by breaking the law.

From Chopper 8, you can see illegal homeless camps sprawled along Waianae's coastline, from Nanakuli to Makaha. It's a problem residents say is growing out of control.

Part of the problem is some of Oahu's homeless say they prefer the beach over the shelter the state built for them.

"Well the shelters are so small, they're like cracker boxes," says Shina, a resident at one of the homeless camps, "You got to do what they tell you to do, you have to be in at a certain time, out at a certain time and if you're not after so many times, you get kicked out, you become homeless again."

Even if the homeless didn't mind the rules, there's not enough room. Cathie Alana, the project director at the Paiolu Kaiaulu Shelter, says they're at 98% capacity and can't possibly house everyone living on Leeward beaches.

"Without affordable housing we're not able to just transition people immediately," says Alana.

To grab the state's attention, those frustrated with Waianae's homeless problem plan to re-create an illegal camp like this and set it up on Waikiki beach.

"By taking this demonstration down to urban Oahu, we're going to make sure that people realize that this is a continued problem. We need to have government put in the resources, put in the monies to make sure we get solutions out there," says Honolulu Councilmember Todd Apo.

Protestors demand the state find a solution soon, before Oahu's homeless problem hits a breaking point and crashes down on Waianae.

The protest is scheduled for the weekend after Labor Day. Organizers say they plan to put up 50 tents on Waikiki beach, and live in them until they're forced out.