HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The mayor signed two bills into law Thursday that ban the homeless from sleeping or living on public sidewalks, but neither take effect right away.
That’s because the City Council is requiring that the city first complete a report detailing how the city plans to tackle the homeless crisis.
That caveat has angered Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who said Thursday that signing the bills into law without being able to implement them is “not taking action.”
He said the measures are meant to “take back our public spaces and our sidewalks.”
One of the measures outlaws obstructions on sidewalks.
The other prohibits people from living on sidewalks or other public areas if shelter is available.
They’re the latest in a number of laws that the mayor has said are part of the city’s policy of “compassionate disruption” — aimed at pushing homeless people out of public spaces and into shelters.
Some advocates for the homeless have argued such efforts are actually counter-productive because they make it harder to work with chronically homeless people to convince them to get off the streets.
Council members said the requirement that the city first provide a report on its homelessness efforts before the two laws go into effect isn’t about delaying implementation, but ensuring efforts that are already underway are having an impact.
Once the city submits its plan, the council must still approve it before the sidewalk laws go into effect.