Homeless say park closure won't work

Lori Fleming
Lori Fleming

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The City and County of Honolulu makes it moving day for homeless in Kapiolani Park and Kuhio Beach. Monday, the areas officially became off-limits to overnight camping.

Where will they go? The answer is anywhere. An over-pass, under a bench, even on the street. Homeless say they aren't told where to go but they can't stay here.

"He's a good boy," said Sharon, a homeless woman.

Meet Sharon. By her side is always her dog Kano. She's single, 60 and survived the streets for a year after losing her job. But her steps aren't those of a loser, just out of luck.

"How would you like it if it was you, it could be you, something happens to your money or your health, your job," said Sharon.

She says there are some in the Waikiki area that give homeless a hurtful reputation. With conditions like congestive heart failure, a bad kidney and hernia, she's disabled. A $469 check from the government helped get her low-income housing but she recently learned shocking news.

"They're cutting it in half, 234, how can you pay rent," said Sharon.

Like Sharon, lines of homeless look for free meals. Unity Church of Hawaii feeds up to 140 each Monday.

"There's a huge need here, many of those people had jobs 6-to-8 months ago and because of this economy they don't have jobs anymore," said Associate Pastor, Reverand Lori Fleming.

The city says leave---so they will. But with no where to go, Sharon says this clean up will eventually lead to one conclusion.

"They'll be back, it's not going to make anything better, it's not going to change it," said Sharon.

While some will cooperate others aren't leaving. Homeless say they aren't afraid. If they get a ticket they can't pay it. Even if they're arrested, free room, board and medical even for a night sounds appealing.