Cars, bikes and even a boat clog encampments under Nimitz viaduct

Cars, bikes and even a boat clog encampments under Nimitz viaduct
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In July, the Ige administration set aside nearly $2 million to clean up trash left behind by homeless people living on state land.

But if you look under the Airport Viaduct, it doesn't seem like much has been done.

"Some of the viaducts, underneath them is nothing but rubbish. Piles of trash,"  said Justin Phillips, of the nonprofit Institute for Human Services. "It needs to be cleaned out."

Outreach workers estimate close to 200 people live under the system of bridges.

"They are very service-resistant," Philips said. "They've been offered opportunities for housing. We have one lady who's been down there 21 years. I would say they're very comfortable."

From the road, at least a half dozen vehicles can be spotted under the Airport Viaduct. Most were parked at homeless encampments.

There were also plenty of bikes and mopeds.

But it's a boat situated next to a cardboard shelter that's causing the most buzz.

A Hawaii News Now viewer snapped a photo of the encampment earlier in the week and urged the state to take action.

State officials say they are in the process of distributing earmarked funds to the state Department of Transportation as well as several other state agencies.

In the meantime, the governor's homeless coordinator says crews have been working in the area.

"We are regularly addressing trash," Scott Morishige, the governor's homeless czar.

Although there hasn't been a full-scale clean-up of the area in a year, Morishige says DOT workers have cleared out some of the rubbish. He says his office also responds to other complaints about the camp.

"Each circumstance is different, whether it's a boat or car or another type of property," Morishige said.

It's unclear whether the state will do a bigger clean-up once the money comes in.

And while service providers try to connect people in the area to housing, the state says a homeless sweep in the area would likely be counter-productive.

"There's a number of private businesses in the area and we certainly don't want to push some of these encampments on to private property. So it's a balance," Morishige said.

Want to report trash on public lands? Call 586-0193 or email

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