Mixed Feelings About Kalaeloa Homeless Shelter - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Mixed Feelings About Kalaeloa Homeless Shelter

Anthony Aila Anthony Aila
Gov. Linda Lingle Gov. Linda Lingle
Tents line Maili Beach Park Tents line Maili Beach Park
Plans call for the relocation of Leeward homeless people to this old military building Plans call for the relocation of Leeward homeless people to this old military building

by Minna Sugimoto

MAILI (KHNL) -- Some are excited, others are skeptical. There are mixed feelings about a plan to move as many as 200 homeless people from beaches on Oahu's Leeward coast to an old military building in Kalaeloa.

Anthony Aila rides around, visiting his neighbors. Instead of houses and front lawns, there are tents along the sand, and heart-breaking stories of how some of these folks got here.

"I find families that either lost their husbands, like one lady I know I said earlier, she's married for 30 years," he said. "Now her and her son is on the beach because they're living on $600 income."

Aila first started staying on the beach more than 10 years ago. The recovering drug addict says he survives on $418 a month.

"To go pay rent and then pay your bills, close to impossible," he said.

The state hopes a new project will help some of the homeless get back on their feet. Crews are converting an old military building into a transitional shelter. It'll have individual living units, as well as common cooking, laundry and bathroom areas.

"It'll be a place for people to gain stability so that they can be looking for work," Gov. Linda Lingle (R) said. "They can be furthering their education and getting the kind of services that they need in order for them to gain self-sufficiency."

But not everyone is drawn to the project.

"Most of us are against it due to rules, due to different conditions," Aila said. "Not going to have space like this. You know, you're trying to take a hundred people and put them into a warehouse."

That isn't to say the native Hawaiian doesn't dream of owning his own home.

"I believe we should have nice beach front property, and I believe we should have nice mountain views," he said. "And maybe someday, that'll be a possibility."

The governor says the state has already identified 30 families willing to move in. The renovation project is expected to be completed in October.

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