Illegal homeless camps cleared out in Iwilei - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Illegal homeless camps cleared out in Iwilei

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November Morris November Morris
Larry Heim Larry Heim

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The City of Honolulu has cleaned up another sidewalk where homeless people had been staying.  This one was on Iwilei Road near Aala Park.  It also happened to be right down the road from a homeless shelter.

A man who calls himself Catfish has been living on Iwilei Road for months.  Today he was busy pushing five shopping carts full of his belongings right passed the Institute for Human Services men's shelter.  He doesn't want to stay there but still tried to check in.

"Some people are happy being homeless or content, no responsibilities, no expectations," said Catfish.

He says the workers at the shelter told him he can stay, but not with all his stuff. He'd only be able to bring in what can fit in a foot locker, which he was not willing to do.

"It makes it harder to get into the shelter with five shopping carts. You have to look at the essentials, what do you need to survive," said November Morris, Institute for Human Services, Civic Engagement Coordinator.

Some people are staying at shelters.  Others don't want to follow rules or have pets which are not allowed.

"As long as I can do my recycling just to feed my dog and cat I'm fine. Everything they took from me was materialistic and I can start all over again," said Antoinette Tuituu, homeless.  "My plan right now is to stay on the street with my cat and my dog until a shelter allows pets."

While the homeless aren't happy, neighboring businesses are thrilled with the transformation from what it was before to what it is now.

To give you an idea of what went on there, we spotted liquor bottles and drug paraphernalia in some of the camps.  We also saw a man urinating on a tree in plain view of passing traffic and the smell in some areas is not pleasant.

"My storm drains that are along here they take abuse with that, they throw a lot of needles and stuff inside that we have to clean up. They also doodoo in bags. They shishi in bottles and throw it in drains. It's unsanitary and it's a health issue, you know all this stuff goes to the ocean," said John Nigro, Honolulu Department of Facility Maintenance.

"There's a lot of different illegal activities taking place that made our employees feel very uncomfortable," said Larry Heim, HonBlue President, which is located near the homeless camps.

Other neighbors say they've been harassed and assaulted and have documented homeless putting themselves at risk passing out in the middle of the street or jumping out in traffic in an altered state of mind.  Neighbors hope the homeless get help and stop causing a public hazard.

"It makes the neighborhood feel unsafe, feel uncomfortable and it's just not fair to all the hard working people who go to work every day," said Heim.

The city already moved illegally stored items at Old Stadium Park in Moiliili last week. However some of the homeless brought their things back.  Today city crews came and confiscated the belongings again. They urged people to seek proper help rather than living on the sidewalks and parks.

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