As the Honolulu City Council voted to approve new measures that would arguably criminalize homelessness, local advocates reacted to Mayor Caldwell’s new proposal to move homeless people to an encampment on Sand Island.
To help our readers and listeners make sense of these latest developments, the Pod Squad invited political activist and frequent Civil Beat commenter Bart Dame to join the discussion. Sitting in with Pod Squad host Chad Blair and Civil Beat reporter Nick Grube, the trio talked about why the homeless are being removed from Waikiki, whether their presence actually hurts the tourism industry, why Sand Island may not be the best location to move them to, and what recommendations Housing First actually made to deal with homelessness.
“I think this is tailored for selective enforcement,” said Dame. “It’s meant to satisfy that need of the business community to get the eyesore poor off the streets of Waikiki. I think we have to ask why they’re so ashamed of having poor people there.”
“On top of that, I think that a lot of folks look at these as solutions – as a way of actually getting people out of sight, out of mind,” added Grube. “You talk to homeless experts and you read the studies and it doesn’t matter.”
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Mike Webb produces Civil Beat’s podcast every week.
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