City unveils Sand Island homeless plan
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city is looking at Sand Island and several other locations to house a temporary homeless camp.
"We want to have an interim solution. So we're looking for a place we can do permanent supportive housing in a temporary fashion," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
The city said it plans to open the center in three months but the exact location and the size of the operations are still being worked out. The facilities will include tents for the homeless as well as more permanent buildings.
"There will be tents but it won't be what you think, an Aala Park situation," said City Managing Director Ember Shinn.
"We're hopeful that if we provide a safe environment with services involved and transportation with hygiene that will be an incentive to want to live in."
This isn't the first time that a homeless camp was proposed for Sand Island. Former Gov. Linda Lingle considered Sand Island among several locations in 2006 after the city decided to close Ala Moana Park at night.
Some are skeptical that the city's latest plan will work.
"We may be oversimplifying the issue of just putting a facility here and tents here. I have grave concerns," said City Councilman Breene Harimoto.
"When you have a large concentration of homeless people, any people who may have mental conditions or drug additions, isn't that almost asking for trouble?"
The city disclosed its plans during a hearing on several controversial measures that would ban sitting and lying on sidewalks in Waikiki and urinating and defecating in public.
The council's zoning and planning committee passed those bills, despite vocal opposition. They next go to the full council for consideration.
"As a human being, I think these laws are morally reprehensible. I think they are absolutely unconscionable," said Brian Brazier, attorney for De Occupy Honolulu.