HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - About a dozen homeless people living in tents across the street from the Hawaii Convention Center packed up their belongings on Wednesday. The convention center will be used by APEC delegates, but the landowner said the eviction had nothing to do with the international gathering.
"I wasn't shocked at all cause we was leaving anyways," said a homeless woman named Amanda. She planned to move to the Big Island to join her boyfriend's family.
The land is owned by PBS Hawaii which is putting up a new fence. The public television station plans to sell the 28,000 square foot parcel. The money will be used to move into a new facility.
"Sidewalk encroachment always presents an issue and a challenge for people who want to walk freely. I believe that when there are encampments, there are issues raised with sanitation and health and safety," said Roberta Wong Murray of PBS Hawaii.
The organization said it had been working on this project for several months, and that the cleanup is unrelated to APEC.
"Because we purchased this property back in 2003 out of a bankruptcy proceeding, there were some complications related to jurisdictional rights and ownership rights which literally just got cleared up," explained Murray.
"They gotta do what they gotta do, yeah?" said Amanda.
Police collected abandoned bicycles and shopping carts. Clients from the Institute for Human Services also helped to haul away unwanted items.
"We have a lot of aloha for the homeless and there are services that can help them. We have IHS here to offer shelter and food and other things," said Murray.
"One of the campers here, she decided it's time to get off the street. Fortunately, we're here and we can work on bringing her into the shelter," said November Morris of the Institute for Human Services.
But others who refused the help will now have to find a new spot for all their stuff.
"They're probably going to stick together, move down probably a half mile or so and we'll see them again. We'll always be here for them," said Morris.