Chinatown businesses upset over homeless and lack of bathrooms
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
An ugly problem is getting worse in Chinatown. Business leaders are fed up with the homeless using the streets as their toilets.
There is a lot to be said about the homeless problem. There's also a lot to be seen when you take a walk down River Street.
"Get away punk. Don't f--- with me. I'll kill you," yelled one homeless man to another at the corner of River Street and Pauahi.
Another woman in an altered state called me a vulgar expletive and demanded our station bring back her favorite anchor from the past. Another started talking gibberish. The next wanted to give you his life's story.
One man gave marijuana to another right in front of us. Another man was walking around with a huge hole in his pants exposing his rear end.
There was fighting, police activity and exposure to more than people should have to see. It's just another afternoon in Chinatown.
And as we were interviewing the Chinatown Business and Community Association President about the need for public restrooms a homeless guy relieves himself right in the background on the sidewalk.
"Fights break out any moment and there is drug dealing going on, prostitution going on, dogs running loose, mayhem. People shihshihing in front of you. They pull their pants down and do a poop," said Chu Lan Schubert Kwock, Chinatown Business and Community Association President.
It's disgusting and businesses are getting sick of it.
"All of Chinatown now stinks because they not only defecate here but they defecate in hallways, on the street,"
said Andrew Friedlander, Colliers International Principal Broker, which operates buildings Downtown.
Organizations attract homeless to feed them, but then the only public restroom is at the Chinatown Police station so people go where ever they choose.
There's a half million dollars budgeted for bathrooms that the council will have to approve and then figure out where they should go.
"We looked at the types of stand alone bathrooms that we could install at certain locations and we got a lot of push back. The community wasn't really wanting to the city construct a stand alone facility because they figure it's kind of an attractive nuisance," said Pamela Witty-Oakland, Honolulu Department of Community Services Director. "The next step is to sit and work with the community and the council member assuming we have funding coming forward to find a location and a product style or whatever type of bathroom it is that everyone is going to be able to agree on."
"We can't continue this. We're going to lose everybody to come downtown. That means lost jobs, lower property taxes, more unemployment," said Friedlander. "You can feel it happening."
Because some say the homeless are bad for a businesses bottom line.
There is a meeting regarding the homeless with City leaders on Wednesday at 3:00 at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park next to the Hawaii Theater in Chinatown.