Shopping cart, tent ban has Oahu homeless looking for loopholes - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Shopping cart, tent ban has Oahu homeless looking for loopholes

Edward Piloton Edward Piloton
Tamra Hayden Tamra Hayden
Lambert Pai Lambert Pai

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - No shopping carts, and no tents without a permit - that's the ban Honolulu police started enforcing on Monday at Oahu city parks.

Combine that with late-night park closures and that has the homeless looking for loopholes.

On Monday, shopping carts still littered Ala Moana Beach park, and a couple tents were still up.

Under the new law, you need a permit to set one up.

On day one of enforcement, most tents were laid out flat.

One man who didn't want to appear on camera says he's getting around the ban by keeping the tent down, and using it as a blanket.

Reaction from the homeless is mixed.

"It's better, a better idea to make the place look nice because this is called paradise, and I appreciate what they're doing," said Edward Piloton, a Kapiolani park resident.

"All during the day they should be out looking for services, looking for help. They couldn't do that because they're so exhausted because they're out there walking all night," said Tamra Hayden.

Hayden and her fiance would know. They lost their home six months ago, and have been living in their car with their dogs for the past 7 weeks.

"There's not one day that we sat here in this park sitting around doing nothing," said Lambert Pai, Hayden's fiance.

But for others, the couple says the ban, plus the late-night park closures make it tough for the homeless to turn their lives around.

"We stayed at Waimanalo Beach Park for about 5 months. We lived out there and I mean there are babies out there, there's little kids," said Hayden.

200 of the city's 293 parks close at night, typically between 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

So the homeless sleep during the day, and at night, they go to places where police can't arrest them.

"Here {at Kapiolani Park}, we just stay in the middle of the tree, the public area," said Piloton.

Piloton is referring to a strip of grass and trees on Kalakaua Avenue, near Kapiolani Park.

Other areas the homeless go to are shopping centers that are open 24 hours, like Safeway on Kapahulu.

"You can stay in their parking lots and they have bathrooms there," said Hayden.

That only fuels the debate on whether the new laws drive the homeless to shelters, or simply drive them elsewhere.

As of Monday, Honolulu police issued one warning. No citations reported yet. The penalty is a fine of up to $500.

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