Neighbors raise concerns about plans for Windward Oahu homeless 'igloo' shelter

Neighbors raise concerns about plans for Windward Oahu homeless 'igloo' shelter
Updated: May. 10, 2017 at 10:34 PM HST
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KAHALUU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For several months, the First Assembly of God Church has been planning to construct small domes to house homeless families in Windward Oahu. Plans to put 12 of those domes on church property in Kahaluu is getting some pushback from neighbors.

The church told the Kahaluu Neighborhood Board Wednesday night that it plans to build a temporary compound on a one-acre site adjacent to its church building at the corner of Ahuimanu Road and Kahekili Highway.

"We want to give them dignity. So we're not going to move them into someplace that's rundown, nor are we going to set it up so that the neighbors will feel embarrassed to have our ministry here this property," said church Senior Pastor Klayton Ko.

One of the nearby neighbors was not convinced.

"I realize that you own the property, but why not move it somewhere else as opposed to continuing to add stress in this concentrated area in the corner of Ahuimanu," told church leaders at the neighborhood board meeting.

Board members brought up other concerns, including their own.

"Those concerns related to traffic, noise, sewage, parking," said neighborhood board chair Flora Obayashi, listing some of the earlier concerns.

"How often are you going to be putting them up and taking them down?," asked board member Ken Goldstein.

The church said it will target homeless families with children, single moms and the elderly, who will be vetted by the Institute for Human Services.

"We have found people living in their cars with children and we feel like this is the type of family that might Be really suited for this shelter," said IHS Executive Director Connie Mitchell.

Ko said the church will not take in those with drug addiction problems or mental illness. It said those homeless people can be handled by other agencies. "So we are going to be taking in those that we are equipped to handle and provide a safe place for the entire family."

The church wants to start work on the shelter by the end of this summer. But so many questions and concerns were brought up that the neighborhood board has asked for a special meeting with the church, its architect and the city's Department of Planning and Permitting. No date has been set for the meeting.

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