City Council to consider flurry of new 'sit-lie' bills aimed at homeless

City Council to consider flurry of new 'sit-lie' bills aimed at homeless

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu City Council will be taking its first look at five new measures aimed at expanding the "sit-lie" bans meant to keep the homeless from camping in certain areas around Honolulu.

The council will also look at whether to override Mayor Kirk Caldwell's veto of Bill 6, which would have expanded the ban to Aala Street and a homeless encampment along the Kapalama Canal.

The bills were all introduced in the past week and will have their first reading Wednesday.

Council Chair Ernie Martin and councilman Joey Manahan introduced Bill 46, which would ban camping of pitching a tent on city-owned streams, such as the canal.

"The administration's bill I don't think will address the concerns or the areas we are concerned about here at Kapalama Canal, namely, the grassy areas where the tents are pitched," said Manahan.

The current sit-lie laws in Chinatown, Downtown and Waikiki say sitting and lying on sidewalks blocks public access and affects businesses. Four of the new bills, including measures introduced by Carol Fukunaga, Ron Menor and Ann Kobayashi, would narrowly expand the ban, but Bill 46 says camping along streams causes a public safety and health hazard.

Those who help the homeless said sit-lie bans are continuing to push the homeless from one place to another.

"If we're gonna tell the homeless you may not sit or lie here because business owners over here don't want you to drive away their clientele, okay then, where are you going to provide places? Where are you going to provide good shelter?," asked Daniel Gonzales, pastor of the Ohana Life Church in Kalihi Uka. Church members have been feeding the homeless once a month in Kakaako, and brought food to the Kapalama Canal homeless Saturday.

"We've certainly debated this issue a lot," said Manahan. "I'm not sure that six more bills is going to be able to get us a better final result."

Both Gonzales and Manahan said more housing and shelters are needed instead of more bans.

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