HNN crew goes behind the scenes of homeless enforcement patrol

HNN crew goes behind the scenes of homeless enforcement patrol

Just after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday homeless camped on Kuwili Street in Iwilei woke up to the sound of garbage trucks.

"They don't tell us anything," said a homeless woman named Elizabeth.

Here the city is enforcing the sidewalk nuisance ordinance.  Its response is driven by complaints of area business owners.

A seven man crew used red tape to mark the area, then remove anything that's blocking the sidewalk.  It's done without warning.

"Our crews do allow people the opportunity to remove their valuables. If they have cash any other items as well as documentation, identification papers, birth certificates, stuff like that," said director and chief engineer of the Department of Facilities Maintenance Ross Sasamura.

" It gets me all upset," said Elizabeth.

Elizabeth and her friend were eating breakfast at the nearby shelter.

"Usually I'm on top of everything. I get my things out of here before.  But they just came last week Wednesday now they come again today," said an unidentified homeless man.

In some cases someone's belongings can be tagged and taken to a storage facility.

"Anything removed under the sidewalk nuisance ordinance requires the payment of $200 to reclaim their items," said Sasamura.

Crews cleared the streets there in about an hour.

From that location workers headed to our next stop.

"At Kapalama Canal we enforce the stored property ordinance and that ordinance requires us to provide 24 hours notice prior to any enforcement action," said Sasamura.

When we arrived it was a ghost town.  There was only garbage piled several feet high.

The work crew has to be cautious.  Although police officers are on stand by to ward off any physical threat.  That's not all there is to worry about.

" Human waste, not only that there are times when there are bed bugs, lice," said Sasamura.

Hawaii News Now spoke with several business owners who weren't comfortable going on camera.  Many told us that the enforcement is all for show and in just a few hours the same people will be back to rebuild.

The city spends $15,000 every week on these enforcement patrols.

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