Officials clear more of Honolulu homeless encampment - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Officials clear more of Honolulu homeless encampment

Image: Mileka Lincoln (HNN) Image: Mileka Lincoln (HNN)
KAKAAKO (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Honolulu city crews today continued clearing a homeless encampment in Kakaako that once was home to hundreds of people.

The work will continue tomorrow, as part of the final phase of enforcement efforts aimed at dismantling an encampment that at one point grew to more than 300 people.

Crews have been clearing the encampment over the last several weeks, and today started removing trash and other items left behind along Ilalo, Ahui and Olomehani streets.Tomorrow. crews will work the sidewalks along Ohe Street.

City officials say about 100 homeless people remain in this area; they will either find space at local shelters or will relocate to other areas.

Police and deputy state sheriffs were on hand during the clearing this morning to keep the peace. Today, there were no reports of violence.

Jun Yang, executive director for the city Housing Office, said the Kakaako homeless have been told about the ongoing area enforcement for months.

He said while shelter space is available, not all the homeless are moving off the streets.

According to Yang, the enforcement efforts have helped move about 150 people into housing since fall 2014. It aims to provide a homeless individual housing first then assist them with other social service care such as mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Additionally, he said the state has moved about 75 people into housing with its Housing First efforts since August 2014.

Today, the city provided a bus to take homeless people affected by the sweep to a shelter. Eight people took that bus this morning, including some families, Yang said. Another bus will be come tomorrow, before the cleanup along Ohe Street.

City Department of Facility Maintenance Director Ross Sasamura, said since enforcement began in the Kakaako, crews have collected "a little more than 26 tons of trash, 50 cubic yards of metal, 29 shopping carts, 128 hypodermic needles and 7 stored property bins collected."

Property that's stored by the DFM costs $200 to retrieve, but waivers through social service providers are available.

As the homeless disperse to other areas, Sasamura said the public can contact the DFM to enforce stored property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances within city jurisdictions. Reach DFM at 768-3585.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly