Lifeguards, beach boys say homeless returning to Waikiki beach

Lifeguards, beach boys say homeless returning to Waikiki beach

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been more than a year since the city cracked down on homelessness in Waikiki, using parks citations and sit-lie laws to move people along.

Now, there are increased complaints about homeless setting up camp on one of the world's most famous beaches.

And, lifeguards and beach boys say, lifeguard towers are increasingly turning into shelters.

"We have them here in front the Outrigger hotel. We have them here in front of the lifeguard tower 2 Alpha," said Didi Robello, of Aloha Beach Services.

"They go behind our shack over here. They defecate. They urinate. No matter how much we clean, it gets to the point where you just can't get rid of the smell and we got to work in it," he said.

The same situation also plagues Waikiki Beach lifeguards.

"It's a health issue for us and also a health issue for the public," said Ocean Safety Officer Garvin Freitas.

There are several lifeguard towers between the Outrigger Waikiki and Kamaina Beach. At night, lifeguards say, they turn into homeless havens.

"They sleep around it. Sometimes there's actually people on the tower itself," Freitas said.

Law bans anyone from being on the beach from about midnight to 5 a.m. Police warn people away and can slap a $50 citation on violators.

But Robello says many homeless people don't seem to care.

"Their sleeping materials, everything they sleep on or they find out on the beach, they leave it there. So now we end up cleaning up that mess," he said.

Lifeguards man their towers from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Freitas said homeless know the schedule.

"They're here early morning hours, sometimes right as we're leaving for our shift and closing down, they'll be coming back to the beach," he said.

Freitas and Robello said more needs to be done to keep homeless from camping on Waikiki beach after hours because the problem is getting worse.

"If they don't get chased out, the more keep coming," Robello said.

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