Local Connection: Kakaako Homeless Encampment - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: Kakaako Homeless Encampment

By Rick Blangiardi 

Homelessness was back in the headlines last week - and mostly because of neglect of the issue by the administration of Governor Ige. 

The Children's Discovery Center in Kakaako has long been suffering in silence as the state's biggest urban homeless encampment closed in.

They suffered in part because their state landlords did not keep the camp from getting out of control and then firmly entrenched. When the Center called on the legislators for help…it created another embarrassing story.

State representative Tom Brower found out by being assaulted that a lot of the residents consider the Kakaako camp their home.  The violence was wrong …but I can understand why proud young men frustrated by months living on the street might act out when they felt disrespected.  Brower had visited the camp three times in a week with his camera before the attack. 

Brower waffled on whether they should be charged...and the attorney general took its time and made no arrests despite apparent confessions.

These are all sure signs that the state…specifically the administration of Governor David Ige …is not taking this crisis seriously.

It's not clear who is in charge. The Homeless Coordinator appointed by Governor Abercrombie ...was never welcomed into the Ige team - but still lingers on with a temporary appointment.  The State Human Services Director said point blank that there is NO plan for what to do about that camp… but we should feel good that the cabinet members are talk about it. 

News flash: that's their job.

Meanwhile…as the city makes life less comfortable for homeless in its jurisdictions …several encampments on state land continue to grow and dig in. 

We hope it doesn't come to this…but the Ige Adminstration is in danger of having this crisis blow up in a big way.  Hopefully we won't look back and realize this week's news stories were the small tremors before the volcano exploded. 

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