EXCLUSIVE: Mayor, governor agree on plan to remove homeless camp in Kakaako
Published: Jul. 20, 2015 at 7:35 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 21, 2015 at 1:33 AM HST
The mayor and governor have agreed on a plan to shut down the huge Kakaako homeless camp and move its residents to a managed 'safe zone' elsewhere in the area.
Sources tell Hawaii News Now that rising crime tied to homeless campers was one big reason for moving as soon as possible.
The mayor met with social service providers last week to alert them that their help will be needed to address the problems of the camp, which is believed to have as many as 200 tents and structures. It developed as a result of tough enforcement by the city elsewhere and word among the homeless is that they would not be hassled in Kakaako.
There has been no official announcement of this plan, but we're told by multiple sources that the Mayor and Governor reached agreement Friday afternoon. The state is handing some law enforcement and land management jurisdiction over to the city.
The residents of the camp will be given notice in advance as well as an opportunity to meet with social workers and housing facilitators.
At the end of the notice period the remaining structures will be removed and no-trespassing areas established to prevent the encampment from being re-established, the area will be patrolled by Honolulu police.
People who use nearby Kakaako Waterfront Park said it's time something was done, but they also have many questions.
"What's gonna happen to them? Because not everybody's going to want to go anywhere," said Bob Lyon, a Kalihi area resident who goes to the park nearly every day.
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - PHOTOS: Kakaako homeless encampment
Those that choose to remain in Kakaako will be offered space at a city-managed safe area most likely on land owned by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
"Another safe haven? Waianae? Pearl Harbor? It's packed," said area resident Larry Russo at Point Panic. "Where's this safe haven, Sand Island?"
This strategy will give the government agencies and social service providers time to try and find permanent or emergency housing for the residents or to move them to semi-permanent transitional housing once it is established.
Since state representative Tom Brower was assaulted in Kakaako three weeks ago, there have been several other reported violent incidents.
"The clientele over there, they're kinda rough people," said Russo.
We are told that the removal of this encampment could happen somewhere between two and four weeks.
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