Homeless in Waimanalo see more people in the area

Homeless in Waimanalo see more people in the area
Dennis Alfafara
Dennis Alfafara
State Representative Rida Cabanilla
State Representative Rida Cabanilla
State Representative John Mizuno
State Representative John Mizuno

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

WAIMANALO, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - The homeless at Waimanalo Beach Park say more people are moving in and now, they say they're the target of a homeless sweep.

Some regulars there say the number of people living there has grown from 20 to about 80.

They blame either the recent homeless sweeps across the island or just the unwelcoming economy.

Camping for Fourth of July weekend is a tradition shared by many throughout the state.

Campers at Waimanalo Beach Park are not here for that tradition. Instead, it's a homeless camp that they fear may be cleared soon, after seeing some growth spurts.

"The cost of living goes up, pay wages stay down, people got to work 2-3 jobs just to pay the bills, that's rough," Waimanalo Beach Park resident Dennis Alfafara said.

Alfafara has lived here for a little more than a year. He fell on some rough times, after quitting his job at Sea Life Park.

But he tries to stay afloat by umpiring youth baseball games and playing in a band.

"Do you like being homeless?" Hawaii News Now asked.

"Not really, eh but it's temporary, what can we do, our people back then lived on the beach, just gotta survive," he said.

State lawmakers say the sweeps must continue, but there needs to be an alternative place to put them.

"You take them out of Waimanalo Beach, you'll see them in Makaha, in Maili, Ala Moana Park, underneath freeways," State Representative Rida Cabanilla said.

State Representative John Mizuno says there needs to be a place that's designated for the homeless.

"I think it would be a win-win situation for all of us, mainly a place built next to human services or public assistance," Mizuno said.

Alfafara says police have done a few sweeps in Waimanalo already, mostly looking for permits or drugs.

"They're not hostile, they're doing their job, they come in and we know them, their faces and names and they know us," he said.

Crackdowns on the homeless in Ala Moana Beach Park and in Kapiolani Park have forced some to move elsewhere.

That elsewhere, according to some homeless in Waimanalo, is at their campground.

"We don't starve, churches come, bring us hot food, Salvation Army, every Wednesday, there's hot lunch, we have food banks up the ying yang, we cannot starve," Alfafara said.

Honolulu City and County officials have not confirmed when or if there'll be a homeless sweep in Waimanalo.

But there is one scheduled for an area known as "Guardrails" in Maili on July 19th.

"Homelessness sometimes is a lifestyle, some people feel sorry for them, but those people are homeless, a lot of them don't feel sorry for themselves, they feel it's they way to go, it's destiny," Cabanilla said.

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