The Hawaii Community Development Authority has announced that it is closing all Kakaako parks tonight as of 10 p.m. in light of the impending storms. But that’s frustrated at least one advocate for homeless people who said the closure is unnecessarily forces homeless families to sleep on the sidewalk because Red Cross shelters don’t open until 10 p.m. tomorrow.

“I don’t think there’s an actual necessity to close the parks tonight,” said Kathryn Xian, a congressional candidate and advocate for homeless people. “It’s a huge encumbrance.”

Xian is planning to help evacuate homeless people tomorrow as part of her work with Social Justice Ministries. But the decision to close Kakaako parks tonight is forcing homeless families to relocate before alternate shelters are available, she said.

But HCDA spokeswoman Lindsey Doi said Thursday morning that the agency’s security guard goes through the park every night to tell people that it is closing, and “last night was no different.”

“HCDA staff has been canvassing our parks in Kakaako Makai to inform the homeless who live on the streets about the impending danger,” she said in an email. “We have been encouraging them to seek shelter, either at the Next Step Shelter in Kakaako, or at the city’s hurricane centers once the shelter evacuates.”

Hurricane Iselle is expected to hit the Big Island and Maui County on Thursday and advance across the rest of the Hawaiian island chain on Friday. A second hurricane could hit as early as Sunday.

City officials said during a press conference on Wednesday that the park normally closes at that hour and the storm closure won’t necessarily displace homeless people.

HCDA said it will reopen the parks “once state and city officials determine the danger has passed.”

gloomy day rain storm oahu

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