Businesses near airport viaduct homeless camp wonder why it's al - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Businesses near airport viaduct homeless camp wonder why it's allowed to exist

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

For the second time since October, first responders were called to a tunnel like homeless camp beneath the airport viaduct to put out a fire. 

That didn't surprise folks who work nearby. Many say problems like this have been happening for years. 

"They'll build cardboard homes on the side of our buildings,” said Mele Lauano-Fautea.

Lauano-Fauatea has been the manager of Colortime by the H-1 Middle Street on ramp near Nimitz highway for a little more than a year. 

She says her business has suffered because customers are intimidated by the sprawling homeless camp right next door.

"They will bum for cigarettes or ask for money," said Lauano-Fauatea. 

And that's not even the worst of it.

“They will do their number two in the back there and even by our steps it smells. It reeks of urine,” said Lauano-Fauatea.

Lauano-Fauatea believes the camp is so well established because they're rarely forced to leave.

"They're not being cited for it or pay any fees for trespassing," said Lauano-Fauatea.

A man who was walking out from under the bridge didn't want to talk on camera, but told Hawaii News Now he's lived on a make-shift raft under the bridge for 10-years.

"People really feel like it's home," said Connie Mitchell.

Mitchell is the Executive Director for the Institute of Human Services. She says a hidden encampment like this one is extremely dangerous not just for the people who live there but for the public as well.

"I think we're extremely fortunate that the incidents that have happened haven't resulted in loss of life. We'd like to see the state step up and actually take some action before something more serious happens,” said Mitchell.

The department of transportation owns the property under the viaduct.

A spokesman said they don't allow homeless to live under bridges, and that it's up to police to enforce the law.

Homeless clean-ups at highway facilities around Oahu are scheduled twice a year. Each costs between $100,000 and $200,000.

Related Links:

Police, firefighters respond to homeless-related fire under bridge off Dillingham Boulevard

Kakaako homeless encampment nearly doubles in size

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly