Keeping Kakaako clear of homeless will be joint effort - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Keeping Kakaako clear of homeless will be joint effort

Ross Sasamura Ross Sasamura
Lindsey Doi Lindsey Doi
KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Some are wondering how will the state and city will prevent another shanty town from growing in Kakaako.

Over the short term the Hawaii Community Development Authority will close some Kakaako parks for maintenance. That includes both parks that were surrounded by tents and crowded with homeless campers. Now gates discourage entry.

"We have signs on the perimeter. Law enforcement can also assist us in letting people know that park is closed for maintenance," HCDA Community Outreach Officer Lindsey Doi said.

The maintenance closures may extend beyond Monday for irrigation repairs and park cleaning. As for sidewalks, it will cost taxpayers about $60,000 to remove and dispose of the makeshift shelters homeless left behind. The city promises quick response to Stored Property or Sidewalk Nuisance complaints.

"Either one of them can apply, depending on the different circumstances, depending upon exactly where the encampments or the location of the impediment is," Department of Facility Maintenance Director Ross Sasamura said.

Kakaako parks are closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Doi said HCDA will step up enforcement of that rule.

"We do have security guards that will come in, enforce that park closure," she said.  "And then during the day we will also be enforcing our park rules, which prohibit things like camping, setting up tents, things like that."

Some of the Kakaako homeless tried to move to Kewalo Basin.  HCDA is also enforcing park rules there.  About 300 people lived in the Kakaako homeless camp. The state said 152 were placed in shelter or permanent housing. Many are still on the street. Some are asking what will stop them from coming back. 

"I can say that we'll continue to return as much as we need to to address issues that arise," Sasamura said.

As for law enforcement presence, Honolulu police will patrol the area during the day. State sheriffs will make the rounds overnight.

Scott Morishige, Governor David Ige’s coordinator on homelessness, announced Friday that a total of 48 people who had been living in Kaka‘ako (including eight families, three couples and five singles) have moved into shelters in the past week. Individuals and families were primarily placed at the Institute for Human Services, Next Step Shelter and the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter.

“By working together, we have made a positive difference in the lives of these individuals and families. This would not have been possible without close coordination between homeless outreach providers, shelters, the state and the City and County of Honolulu,” Morishige said.

Since August 7, state-contracted outreach providers have offered shelter and permanent housing resources to individuals and families in the Kaka‘ako makai area. A total of 152 people (including 23 families) have been placed into shelter or permanent housing.

The Institute for Human Services also released a statement on the Kakaako homeless encampment, which can be read HERE

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