Mayor Hannemann speaks out about Homeless 'Safe Zones'

By Holly Juscen – bio | email

Mayor Mufi Hannemann made it very clear, the city is not against the idea of a having a designated camp where homeless can live, but he says there has to be rules.

"You're not going have a safe zone and just let people run amuck," said Mayor Hannemann.

The mayor's Wednesday press conference comes just a day after some state legislators reached out to the homeless in Waikiki, and unveiled their idea to create these "Safe Zones" communities.

"I'm sick of the newsletter to the editors from visitors about the homeless problem. we are better than that. We need to create these safe zones that would house them -- then law enforcement make sure they patrol where they can be, " said Representative Tom Brower, Kakaako, Ala Moana, Waikiki.

Lawmakers said this would help clean up the parks and the streets,

but gave no concrete plan on how the tent city's would run. The mayor said these should be the guidelines.

First, there needs to be rules and a staff to enforce them, not the Honolulu Police Department. No drugs or alcohol would be allowed. There would have to be access to sanitary facilities, and the homeless may have to pay a fee to cover cost. Also, the "Safe-Zone' would have to be operated by the private entity, not the city or state. The city knows that not everyone would comply.

"Individuals who are targeted are typically not the ones that want to follow rules, they want to be able to do drugs, yet they are the ones that are trying to be accommodated by the safe zones, " said Debbie Kim Morikawa, of the Honolulu City Council.

Tent cities do exist on the mainland. One in Sacramento had to be closed down because of drugs and unrest, but Seattle has four successful homeless camps

Here on Oahu, there is still the controversial issue of where the safe zone would be and who would offer up the land.

"If you look at the pockets of land out there, there's the city the state and private land. We need to see. But we are willing to look at it as we welcome different options to try and hep with a solution to the homeless population," said Hannemann.

"It's nice to talk about safe zones, however the reality of when you do start talking about them in the community, there is going to be opposition. People will say I don't want it in my backyard, they are fine, but put them somewhere else. "

The state will hold a briefing on homelessness on Thursday morning to further discuss the Homeless Safe Zone concerns.

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