Community reacts to Sand Island homeless shelter proposal
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Somewhere out in Sand Island the City of Honolulu wants to setup a temporary homeless shelter with bathrooms, showers and electricity. There would also be 24 hour security and most importantly access to services to help turn their life around.
"There has to be that assessment piece and there has to be a prioritization for those who are most vulnerable," said Connie Mitchell, Institute for Human Services Executive Director.
It remains to be seen how they would mix men, women and families all together with the mentally ill and drug addicts.
"I think it's going to be a challenge trying to design the program but I don't think it's impossible," said Mitchell.
Neighboring businesses has mixed reactions on the plans. There were concerns about possible thefts and vandalisms. But people also said crime and drugs are everywhere not just around the homeless. There was also a lot of support for the idea.
"They need someplace and they need a safe place just like any other family would," said Jesse Makainai, Makainai Cabinets, located in Sand Island.
"I think it's probably ultimately a good idea that we get them off the streets and someplace central where they can get help, particularly pulling them out of Waikiki," said Toby Vana, Kula Glass Company, located in Sand Island.
The City has about $42 million to spend on housing the homeless so money isn't the issue. But finding the location and coordinating the 24 hour operation could be.
"Every solution that comes out, it's going to have to be molded a little bit for our community but when people start pointing fingers all the time and polarizing the issue it really doesn't help," said Mitchell.
This would be a temporary solution. Most of the housing first plans focus on permanent housing.
By the way the Institute for Human Services director says today and most days there is space at the men's, women's and family shelter if of course people follow the rules.