City prepares for last two homeless sweeps in Kakaako - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

City prepares for last two homeless sweeps in Kakaako

Tents line the streets in Kakaako Tents line the streets in Kakaako
KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

City crews will dismantle the core of Kakaako's homeless encampment this week. Outreach workers estimate that 100 people are living in the areas covered by the final two sweeps. Workers will clear sidewalks on Olomehani Street and parts of Ahui Street and Ilalo Street on Thursday. They'll tackle another part of Ilalo Street and Ohe Street near the Children's Discovery Center on Friday. Workers at the nearby Kewalo Marine Laboratory have been dealing with security concerns.

"We've had people who have been accosted on the way to the lab if they take the bus and get off at Ward (Avenue) and come down Ahui Street. We've had several people who have said they don't even want to come down here anymore because of their experiences," said director Robert Richmond.

Richmond gets quite an eyeful looking through the reflective glass windows of his office near Point Panic. The view includes homeless people as well as newlyweds from 53 By The Sea.

"The wife is wearing a $12,000 wedding dress and the guy is in a tuxedo, and there's naked people showering right next to them, people doing laundry and washing clothes and stuff," said Richmond.

In the last few days, a dozen tents have gone up on nearby Ahui Street in an area which had been clear for months. Some people forced out in other sweeps have moved closer to the core of the camp.

"We're asking the people who live there to cooperate. There is shelter space. We would not do this enforcement if we didn't know there was sufficient shelter space," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

A census in August counted nearly 300 homeless campers. The state's coordinator on homelessness said 104 people have now moved into shelters or housing. Caldwell said the city is also making progress with long-term solutions.

"We've housed over 115 folks in Housing First units. The goal is to house 400 over the next three years, about a hundred a year. IHS has also housed over 100 in Housing First," said Caldwell.

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