Makiki gets advisory board to weigh in on city's planned homeless complex

Makiki gets advisory board to weigh in on city's planned homeless complex
Published: Sep. 21, 2016 at 9:57 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 21, 2016 at 10:30 PM HST
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MAKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents near a former Makiki school being converted into a supportive housing apartment for homeless are raising concerns about the city project.

"The biggest concerns are of course safety," said Paul Klink, a member of the Makiki Neighborhood Board.

He said he's disappointed the city didn't do more to notify neighbors about the project when the property was purchased for $5.5 million in November.

Meanwhile, construction crews Wednesday continued their work at the former Loveland Academy on Piikoi Street. The project will house up to 75 homeless and low-income people in 42 new units.

For months, neighbors say their concerns about the project have fallen on deaf ears.

The city has promised there will an on-site resident manager and 24-hour support services, but community members still have questions.

In response, the City Council voted Wednesday to give neighbors more of a voice by establishing a community advisory committee.

And the city pledged again to reach out to the community.

"We're always willing to listen to what makes sense," said Gary Nakata, of the city Department of Community Services. "We want to empower the community to make input. At the same time we want a reasonable basis for us to go forward and really help the people in need."

Once a community advisory committee is established, the city hopes to have it's first sit-down in November.

Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga said the committee will promote dialogue.

"It gives everyone an opportunity to sort of try and work together," she said.

Klink says he supports the idea of the project, but would have appreciated some advance notice.

"Nobody knew in advance. They weren't sent a packet. They weren't sent an informational form," he said.

"I think it's important for the city to be more considerate in advance of a project like this so everyone is informed and can participate in the creation of the project instead of being notified after the fact."

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