Homeless told to leave Kakaako park ahead of light pole repairs

Published: Oct. 13, 2016 at 7:56 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 13, 2016 at 11:55 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the past week outreach workers have gone tent to tent at Kakaako Waterfront Park alerting homeless campers of a coming sweep.  Despite being urged to go into shelter the majority of people haven't budged.

"Everyone will be asked to leave the park at 6 o'clock.  That will allows us then to be able to go in and conduct some clean-up work," said Garett Kamemoto, Hawaii Community Development Authority spokesperson.

Crews can also begin an in-depth inspection.  Officials cut power to the park last week after workers discovered dangerous wires sticking out of more than a half dozen light poles.

"There are some tents and structures that are right up against some of the light poles.  And on top of that in order to actually get in and inspect things we would need to make the wires live and that's a danger," said Kamemoto.

With no electricity three families along with a handful of other folks made the decision to move into shelter.  It's estimated close to 60 people remain in the park.

"Most are actually teen youth and couples.  Many are highly addicted to substances," said Kimo Carvalho, Institute for Human Services.

The two day enforcement is a collaborative effort that includes the state, multiple services providers, a shuttle that will transport people to shelter and members of the community.

"The private land owners are also going to stay on property after hours so if anyone trespasses on their property they're able to engage and move them out," said Carvalho.

"What we've found is if you bring all the services directly to someone and you have transportation there and you've lowered the barriers.  That helps people get off the street and really results in a long term resolution to the situation," said Scott Morishige, Governor's Homeless Coordinator.

Officials say they won't know until the inspection is complete how long repairs are going to take or how much they will cost.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.