Local Connection: Homeless Encampments

Local Connection: Homeless Encampments
(Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -Last week we reported on yet another homeless encampment that has gone out of control between rare sweeps by the city and state.

It’s on the base of Diamond Head near one of Honolulu’s most scenic and popular surf spots. It’s where the city just spent $2 million to improve public access.

Unfortunately as is too often the case – the first people to take advantage of the easier access were chronic homeless spilling out of brush to get closer to the beach shower.

This is ridiculous. While there are legitimate concerns about criminalizing homeless, our leaders have somehow taken that to mean they can’t deal with people who are criminally homeless.

The police department is taking on some of this issue, ordering up large tents for what are called “lift zones”, to provide emergency shelter for people who are removed from squatter camps.

Perhaps that concept should be taken a step further – by actually arresting the campers who repeatedly trespass with illegal structures. They can be held the in the police tents and be processed into the criminal justice system.

Judges have the power to push defendants into drug or mental health care, and even into housing. Those who still refuse can enjoy a roof over their heads in jail.

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