Worries grow over safety, hygiene as more homeless camps pop up along road on Maui’s north shore

Campers say they have no other options.
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 6:53 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 27, 2022 at 12:20 PM HST
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PAIA (HawaiiNewsNow) - More homeless camps are popping up along a country road on Maui’s North Shore.

Tarps, tires, cars, and trash — everything is multiplying on Holomua Road in Paia.

“This is terrible,” said Mike Ade.

Ade is the caretaker of the old Maui High School which is right up the road from the encampment. Ade said the road is getting more congested every week.

“Just within the last, I’m gonna say last six weeks, that’s when it really has made an impact,” he said.

There is even a sign there advertising a “Maui camper van and glamping experiences” available on Airbnb.

“Welcome to my house, this is where I live,” said John Smith.

Smith said he is a disabled veteran. He said he has been living under a tarp off Holomua Road for about six months now.

“It’s not much, but I call it home,” Smith said.

The encampment comes about a year after the county cleared out one of the islands largest homeless camps on Amala Place in Kahului.

Smith said many of the homeless came to Holomua Road after being pushed out from other homeless encampments around the island. He said they do not want to go into shelter because there are too many rules.

“It’s a good life out here. We see the stars and the sunset, and we meet a lot of nice people,” he said.

The nice and peaceful scenery is exactly what Kuau resident Kitty Walsh and her friends miss about the area.

“I don’t feel safe walking on the road because there’s so many vehicles and if a car comes either way, it’s difficult to pass when you’re walking with your dog,” Walsh said. “There’s really no place to jump out of the way, you’ll jump right into someone’s encampment.”

Many are also concerned about hygiene.

“We’re just curious about where all the human waste is going,” Ade said.

“I’ll often will see toilet paper on the side which is not pleasant to see when you’re on a walk. I see way fewer citizens like myself just out enjoying the road that I have in years past,” Walsh said.

Smith said he is looking into bringing porta potties up there.

However, resident say they just want the road back to what it was before.

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