Proposed Honolulu ordinance targets sleeping on sidewalks

Charles Djou.
Charles Djou.
Dan Gluck
Dan Gluck

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The city could no longer take the problem of people sleeping on sidewalks, lying down. As a measure moves through the Honolulu City Council.

But some are sounding the alarm, this could keep kids from playing on these pedestrian paths.

The bill was designed to move the homeless from our sidewalks. Many moved there now that camping and sleeping is illegal in our parks.

Those caught laying on the sidewalk would first get a warning then a citation. The bill was crafted in the hopes it would persuade people to get help for their homeless problems.

But some feel the bill would also target many more who use our sidewalks.

"The evidence shows that many people staying in parks are suffering from mental illness or drug abuse, but people refuse free government help. By putting ban in place, it will put the hammer on people getting the help they need," said Honolulu City Councilmember, Charles Djou.

"The ordinance as written, would prohibit a child in a stroller on a sidewalk, workers taking a break, even kids sitting on sidewalk playing with chalk. It is entirely too broad for a problem the City Council feels exists," said ACLU Attorney Dan Gluck.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii would prefer the City Council to spend more money on outreach and services for homeless, in an effort to eliminate this problem.

But Djou feels the homeless problem is having too great of an impact on tourism in the islands, and is even starting to affect our economy.

The bill will next be heard in City Council Committee meetings the first week of October.