2 managed homeless encampments, Iwilei hygiene center get mayor's support
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Plans to allow two managed homeless encampments on Oahu are moving forward, while the city also plans to build a hygiene center for the homeless.
City Councilman Joey Manahan pushed for a managed encampment in his district, which includes Iwilei, and got the mayor's blessing for the project last week.
National homeless advocates typically oppose managed camps, saying they fail to move people into permanent housing.
But Manahan's propsed encampment would feature "tiny houses," and be modeled after a homeless village in Seattle. Manahan says each home would cost $2,200 to build.
"About 120 square feet a piece. They would be together in groups of 30 or 40 in a parking lot type setting," he said.
Manahan is working with Low-Income Housing Institute of Seattle to craft his plan. The organization has had a similar project in place for the past decade.
"We would be working with their service providers to design the space as well as implement the program," he said.
Meanwhile, the mayor said he also supports Council Chairman Ernie Martin's initiative to build a temporary encampment in Wahiawa.
The mayor has asked both councilman to pick the specific location for the encampments in each of their districts.
Iwilei will also likely be the site for Honolulu's first Urban Rest Stop, a hygiene center that would feature showers and restrooms, towels and toiletries and free laundry facilities. The center would also include a navigation center that would connect homeless with other services.
The city has put in bids on two properties for the rest stop and hopes to have a deal done by summer.
"They're actually built structures that can be easily converted into showers and restrooms," Caldwell said.
The hygiene center will cost between $1.5 and $2 million dollars to build, and $600,000 a year to operate, Manahan said.
The City Council still needs to approve funds for the projects.
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