Homeless seek shelter at Hawaii schools

Homeless seek shelter at Hawaii schools

WAIPAHU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some homeless people have been trespassing at night to seek shelter at Oahu schools. A few individuals are sleeping and bathing at Waipahu Intermediate School.

"It's not so much the local homeless, they respect the property. It's some of the other element that we're starting to get," said principal Randell Dunn.

Dunn is worried about the safety of students and staff. There are 1,335 7th and 8th graders at the school who are sharing their campus with the homeless people that usually come out at night.

"Sometimes they sleep. Sometimes they bathe. Sometimes they come up from the brush back there and they steal things," Dunn said.

Some also relieve themselves on campus, leaving behind human waste.

"In front of classroom doors we've found, on the sidewalks, so our custodians come in and they clean the area as soon as they find it," said Dunn.

Department of Education officials are aware of similar problems at other schools located near homeless encampments.

"Some schools are confirming that individuals are using campus sprinklers and breaking into the bathrooms to use the sinks. Police are called out to assist in those situations," said DOE spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz.

Hiring overnight security would be very expensive, according to the DOE.

"Our custodial staff comes in early to do a sweep of the campuses to make sure to either escort individuals off our campuses and ensure that the campus is clean of any debris or other hazardous material," said Dela Cruz.

Waipahu Intermediate is right next to an area of overgrown brush with hidden homeless camps. The school is working with the Department of Public Safety to have inmates help to remove some of the shrubs.

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