State Officials Remove Homeless People from Iwilei - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State Officials Remove Homeless People from Iwilei

By Howard Dashefsky

IWILEI (KHNL) -- State officials stage an early morning raid to remove the last remaining homeless people living alongside Nimitz Highway in Iwilei.

Since late last year, nearly three dozen people had set up makeshift housing behind the cement barrier that runs right next to the highway near the K-Mart store and Salvation Army.

Monday, the State moved in to clear out the last remaining people who still lived there and to clean it up.

Showing up in force and unannounced, a joint task force of more 30 people from the State Sheriffs Department and the Department of Transportation move in just after 6:30 Monday morning.

"Unfortunately it just became a health and safety issue particularly with the illegal activity and human waste at some point we just had to come in and draw the line and step in," said Scott Ishikawa with the Department of Transportation.

Although dozens had called this area home for months, only two remained Monday morning.

Most moved out in recent days after a warning to vacate from State Sheriffs early last week, and the arrest of four people Thursday for drugs and outstanding warrants.

"You go to Aala Park, they have signs there and they kick you out," said Marshall Alcosida, a homeless.  "So we come over here, this is government land but you got guys dealing drugs, had a stabbing over here the other night and found a dead body over there so eventually the cops gonna come in."

Using the very shopping carts the homeless people left behind, State Sheriffs begin carting out the abandoned belongings.

More than six truckloads of stuff.

Everything from old broken down bicycles, to everyday cooking supplies. Even an American flag had to come down.

"Based on the complaints people felt unsafe and that's why it became a public safety issue and that's why we were called in to assist," said Louise Kim McCoy with the Department of Public Safety. "Not just the health issues from the sanitary conditions but the overall safety for everyone who lives or works nearby."

" I just drink a few beers every now and again, my wife don't do drugs, but a few bad apples and now everybody gotta go," said Alcosida.

It took more than six hours to clear out all the abandoned stuff.

A bio-hazard team may still need to come in to deal with the human waste left behind.

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