It was just 10 days ago that the Hawaii Department of Transportation and state sheriffs swept homeless people and their belongings from 17 locations in Honolulu.

The sites, all near major Honolulu streets and freeways, had been identified for security and aesthetic reasons in advance of APEC.

Many of the homeless told Civil Beat they would soon return to the sites because they didn’t want to go to shelters, where behavior is regulated.

On Tuesday, about a dozen people were back at one of those 17 sites — the shady, grassy triangle between Kukahi and Sumner streets, near the Kmart on Nimitz Highway and just one block from the Institute for Human Services.

Some homeless lay on mats. At least one erected a small tent.

“The cops ain’t hassling us now,” one homeless man said. “They’ve been cool. Kicked somebody outta here last night, but not me. I’m a vet.”

The man, who declined to give his name, is the same man who was there the day before the sweeps started in late October, and the same man who vowed to return.

“Hey, Chad!” he said. “How ya doin’, man?”

Doing fine, said Chad.

On hand to help the homeless at the triangle was Jay Jay M. Chang, who identified herself as an evangelist from Mililani.

“A lot of these folks, they’re addicts,” she said. “I not goin’ lie. Crystal meth. I here to help. I love the people. I understand cops got to do a job.”

Chang pointed to a man lying on a mat and smoking a hand-rolled cigarette.

“He came from Salvation Army,” she said.

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