The Caldwell administration has been aggressively enforcing the ordinances as part of the mayor’s “compassionate disruption” strategy, intended to prod the homeless into shelters where they can receive needed services.
But now, Mileka Lincoln reports, Caldwell has concluded that such enforcement won’t do any good unless the city can give homeless people places to go. “It is very troubling. We have done enforcements in the past, but what happens is they just move onto other state property, stand there, let us clean everything up on the sidewalk, then we leave, and they move right back,” Caldwell said.
The Honolulu Department of Facility Maintenance has spent nearly $1.9 million to enforce the ordinances, according to Lincoln.
Tents line both sides of Olomehani Street in Kakaako near the Ohe Street intersection.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
As Civil Beat recently reported, since a series of the so-called sit-lie laws — also part of the “compassionate disruption” — was instituted by the city last year, it has triggered the encampments along Ohe and Olomehani streets in Kakaako to proliferate. On any given day, more than 100 tents can be found there.
But the city is doubling down on the sit-lie ban. Last week, the City Council tweaked the ban, so that its boundary will, for the first time, cover outside of the city’s business districts — including portions of McCully, Aala, Punchbowl and an area along Kapalama Canal.
Meanwhile, Caldwell is pushing for additional funds to secure more affordable housing units, so homeless people will have places to go.
“What we’re trying to do — and here’s a plea again — is we’re asking leadership at the Council to restore our funding if possible for our staffing for people to help us find units to put our homeless folks into, because what we’re doing now is just moving them around,” he said. “We do not want to go back to Kaka’ako until we have these units or some type of shelter space for them to move into otherwise we’re not solving the problem.”
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