To address homelessness in his backyard, Green proposes pop-up homeless village near state Capitol

Tiny homes for the homeless could start going up near the Capitol as early as this summer as part of a Green Administration plan.
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 4:07 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 4, 2023 at 9:00 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tiny homes for the homeless could start going up near the Capitol as early as this summer as part of a Green Administration plan.

Gov. Josh Green says the so-called pop-up “kauhale village” will temporarily house some of the people currently camping in front of the state Library and Iolani Palace.

He says an exact site for this pop-up village hasn’t been nailed down yet, but added one of the places under consideration is the lawn in front of the Department of Education building across from Queen’s Medical Center.

For years, Hawaii’s homeless crisis has tarnished just about every community in the state.

The high cost of living and lack of affordable housing has forced thousands of people to live in oftentimes unsanitary conditions with their lives on full display.

Now, Green wants to start moving people out of encampments into tiny homes.

“We want something quick in a few places,” Green said. “Because law enforcement has said to us they don’t want to sweep people. They would rather find shelter for people.”

He says he would like to set up some “pallet shelters.”

They are currently being used in Waimanalo to house people who had been living on the beach. Green says unlike that permanent village, which was established in 2020, the new pop-up kauhale would be temporary.

The idea: Providing a place for people to get off the streets until more permanent kauhale can be built.

Green said the pop-up site would be on state land somewhere close to the Capitol.

“Between four and 10 tiny homes,” Green said. “A small space so that social workers or some kind of health care coordinator can be there. And then a bathroom. Something very simple.”

Green’s timeline?

“Four to six weeks would be a dream,” he said. “It takes a little time because some of the resources have to come.”

Right now, lawmakers are debating the budget.

It’s still unclear how much will be set aside for both pop-up and permanent kauhale.

Meanwhile, residents have mixed opinions about a pop-up village near the Capitol.

“Probably not. I feel like it’s just creating more mess,” said resident Alii Pukahi.

But resident Euro Bossy said he thought the temporary village would be a good idea.

“Better than letting people camp,” he said.

Waimanalo isn’t the only place the kauhale concept has seen success. Another tiny home village opened about a year ago in Kalaeloa. If the governor has his way, as many as 15 more could be built across the state.