State Crews Tear Down Homeless Structures at Keehi Lagoon Park

Mike Deleon
Mike Deleon

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- With Mother Nature cooperating Thursday, state crews headed to Keehi Lagoon Park to demolish dozens of structures used by the homeless.

A bulldozer takes a bite out of a makeshift house, tearing apart a homeless camp Mike Deleon says he lived in for five years.

"A lot of us have been there for a while," he said. "We work. You know, that's the only place we have. We're trying to save money to get off the streets."

One by one, the structures he and other homeless people put up come crashing down.

"It's not a good feeling," Deleon said.

On Tuesday, law enforcement officers forced about 50 people out of their tents and made 15 arrests. State sheriffs say the restricted area that's part of the Honolulu International Airport was a haven for crime.

"We all took care of each other like a community, a family," Deleon said. "But because there was one bad apple, it made the whole bunch of apples bad."

Francis Alvarico lives out of his truck nearby, and feels sorry for those losing their shelters in the demolition.

"I have a job, too, myself, but just having a hard time right now," Alvarico said. "But as far as those people, yeah, they're really having a hard time. That's why they're there."

Deleon says he's left with just a backpack of belongings.

"All that I had that meant something to me was back there. They gave me five minutes to get what I could get," Deleon said. "I've been walking around. It's been kind of hard to sleep."

So he goes off in search of a new place to lay his head.