State considers parcel in Nanakuli as possible site for homeless village

(Image: City and County of Honolulu)
(Image: City and County of Honolulu)

NANAKULI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is eying a parcel of land in Nanakuli for the possible future site of a homeless village.

The property, at 87-1380 Farrington Highway, is listed in the agency's written testimony on a bill that would require the governor to identify available state land for the establishment of Pu'uhonua Homeless Villages.

According to the city, it's a two-acre land on the bottom of a hillside right next to a residential neighborhood.

State Rep. Andria Tupola, whose district includes Nanakuli, says it's not an ideal location.

But she's willing to open a discussion with state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

"The one problem we've had from day one is not enough communication," she said. "So if things happen in our community, they need to know about it and all be in decision about it. Getting a well-rounded perspective of what transportation lines are available, what services as far as hook ups, water and all of that is important when you consider a spot for that many people."

The proposal, though, already has the community split.

Some believe it's better than having homeless camps on the makai side of the highway.

"They always end up at the beach across here and a lot of people don't like to go to the beach because it's dirty and stuff," said resident Donna Blakemore.

Blakemore lives on Akowai Road, right next to the proposed homeless village.

Darren Hoopii, who also lives nearby, says bringing them in will only bring trouble.

"It's not good for the kids and it will cause a lot of traffic over here and drugs," he said.

Another critic is Twinkle Borge, the head of a homeless encampment at Waianae boat harbor. The village has 200 residents and has been called a model, but its occupants also feel their welcome is wearing out.

DLNR, which owns the 19-acre site near the boat harbor, wants to create a Marine Educational Science Center on the property about five miles north of Nanakuli.

Borge says the two-acre site is too small for her group and too dangerous.

"When it rains, the wet rocks fall so you can't tell me that's a safe area," Borge said. "I'm not asking for miracles or anything, I'm asking for something to work with."

Tupola added, "There could be some solutions, but I don't think this is the only parcel that the state has to offer, that's for sure."

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