City Council approves homeless bills

City Council approves homeless bills

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu City council has approved two bills aimed at dispersing the growing homeless population on Oahu.

Bill 44 expands the existing sit/lie ordinance to include parts of downtown Honolulu and Chinatown. Two new areas are covered under the bill, College walk on the ewa side of Nuuanu stream, and Kila Kalikimaka mall. It also expands enforceable hours on the Kekaulike Mall and Fort Street Mall from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Council member Carol Fukunaga introduced it.

"At some point you also have to take care of some of the businesses that are worried they might be going under," she said.

Kymberly Marcos Pine was one of two council members to vote against the bill.

"We all support businesses, the problem is your moving it to help business on this street to hurt businesses on the next street.  So you're not helping business, you're just helping the lucky business that happens to be in a sit lie zone," she said.

Brandon Elefante also voted no.  "This is just a band-aid approach to the issue and only moves them around."

Bill 46, which also passed by a 7-2 margin, bans camping without a permit on city owned streams. Health and safety to the public were cited as reasons for it.

"We're trying to give law enforcement the tools to enforce against these growing encampments that are popping up all over the island," said council member Joey Manahan.

Kapalama canal is an example of where the homeless have been--but would no longer be permitted under the bill. While the tactic of compassionate disruption continues to draw debate, Council members agree, more housing is needed.

"We are doing everything we can to help hasten additional locations and sites that can be used to house people," said Fukunaga.

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