State ill-equipped to deal with homeless above H-1 Freeway

State ill-equipped to deal with homeless above H-1 Freeway

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Cruising along the H-1 Freeway through town, they aren't immediately visible to passing motorists.

On the mauka side of the highway, located near the pedestrian bridge between the Vineyard and Queen Emma overpasses, are three separate concrete terraces, and stairways from Magellan Street lead down to each one.

All three have become homeless camps.

"It's hard, but there's a sense of family, a sense of got to stick together," said Tim, a dweller in one of the tents.

Tim's a newcomer, having been there about a week and a half---but in less than two months, he says he'll be on his way. That's because the State Department of Transportation has a scheduled clean-up event in August.

"I've dealt with the sweeps before.  All the people know the sweeps coming, the sweep's coming,'" said Tim.

The camps are cleared because safety issues have been raised for both the dwellers and motorists below.  Something, or someone could fall over the ledge.

The homeless are notified before each event, which happen twice a year.  Each one takes one to two weeks to complete, costing between $250,000 and $300,000.  They take a massive staff to perform, utilizing approximately 40 maintenance workers, who would otherwise be doing road repairs or other normal duties.  20 inmates from OCCC are also involved, as well as State Sheriffs and HPD Officers.

The state itself recognizes the clean ups are exercises in futility, saying in part, in a statement to Hawaii News Now:

"..The clean-up events are ineffective in permanently clearing an area of houseless dwellers as they return soon after the event."

While one dweller said he'll do just that, but Tim said he has other plans.

"I don't want to come back.  I owe it to my girlfriend that we try to get out of here.  There's so much more to life than trying to survive."

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