Kakaako homeless: where are they now? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kakaako homeless: where are they now?

Robert Revels Robert Revels
Jennifer Rodrigues Jennifer Rodrigues
Jesse DeRamos Jesse DeRamos

By Teri Okita – bio | email

KAKAAKO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two weeks ago today, dozens of homeless left the tent city they'd created in Kakaako - after directives from the state to pack up and go. Hawaii News now went back to the area to see if anyone has tried to return, and if not, where they've moved to.

Only "Keep Off the Grass" signs are pitched where tents used to sit on Ilalo street in Kakaako. A lone hold-out returned to the old neighborhood, but he told us: he knows he can't stay here. The crackdown on homeless along this street seems to have worked, but we didn't have to drive far to find pockets of pup tents.

A 44 year old woman nicknamed "Squid" told us a lot of these tents, including hers, near the old John Dominis are new arrivals.

We asked Squid, "Do you know if they'll let you stay here?" Her answer, "I know that they feel sorry for us, but I'm not sure of the situation as far as staying - unless they come with some kind of rules and regulations, and we sign waivers."

Some of the homeless moved across Ala Moana boulevard to Mother Waldron park. They haven't been kicked out, but on the outskirts of the park – along this fenceline on Keawe street - HPD cleared the tents out on Sunday - saying it was private property.

Some have sought help. Evan's Bus Project houses homeless in modified shelters-on-wheels. Since the Kakaako sweep, Evan's has received a family and four individuals.

"It's a very safe environment," says Evan's staffmember, Robert Revels. "You don't have to worry about your stuff being ripped off or stolen. They got a place to stay. We feed them, in the evening, one meal."

About two miles down the road, on Nimitz highway, across from K-Mart, they've seen a few new faces in the past two weeks. K-Mart says the homeless do use its bathrooms, but the majority don't harass or bother others and they're often paying customers. Still, K-Mart says there are a few who cause problems, and they're promptly dealt with by security.

Many folks who work around the former tent city say they're pleased with the changes. "It's much cleaner, smells a little better, not as dirty as it was before. So, sanitary-wise, it's much better," says Kakaako worker, Jennifer Rodrigues.

Jesse DeRamos runs the Fliptout Taco truck on Ilalo street. He says he still reaches out to the homeless he sees walking by. "When we have leftover food at the end of the day, we go over there and make sure that the kids have food on the table. Feel bad, little kids, they can't do anything about it." DeRamos says business on his "Takaako Tuesdays" hasn't really changed, for better or worse, since the homeless left.

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