Waianae homeless say they're unfairly blamed for illegal dumping

Waianae homeless say they're being used as scapegoats by illegal dumpers
Published: Aug. 22, 2017 at 10:18 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 23, 2017 at 8:43 AM HST
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(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: James Pakele)
(image: James Pakele)

WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A sink, a washing machine, a refrigerator and a water heater were just some of the things found at the Waianae Boat Harbor on Tuesday morning.

Many are blaming those who live in a nearby homeless encampment for the illegal dumping.

But the homeless say they're being used as scapegoats.

"They making us look like the bad people, but we not bad people, we all good people over here, we get big hearts, we just trying to survive," said resident Moki Hokoana.

Hokoana has been a resident of Puuhonua O Waianae for seven years. She said she's tired of the area being used as a community dump.

"They dump their trash, we chase them, we get license plate number, send it to the state, the state no do nothing, just like we fighting a losing battle," Hokoana said. "What is the difference between them and us? Nothing…because I get tent walls and not wood walls?"

Hokoana says the area has been an illegal dump site for years and they always end up cleaning it up even though they aren't responsible.

"It is very questionable because you see appliances there, washing machines, and things of that sort that obviously wouldn't be coming from a homeless camp where they have no power," said State Senator Maile Shimabukuro.

Shimabukuro wants cameras at the entrance of the harbor to help catch the culprits.

State Representative for the area Cedric Gates said he's working on an agreement to allow city workers to pick up trash on state land on a regular basis.

Officials with the state land department say they are open to that idea and said it is also putting up bollards to help curb the activity.

Waianae resident James Pakele has a home. But te volunteers his time and his boss with Aloha Trucking loans him a truck to help with clean ups.

"If you like be part of the solution, you gatta come down here, you gatta get involved," he said.

Pakele said he didn't grow up with much, but was always lucky enough to have a roof over his head, and wants to give back to those who don't.

"Luckily we had housing and was more affordable then. But if in today's world, in today's economy, I would be here," Pakele said.

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