Friday was supposed to be the last day of the Kakaako homeless encampment.
But the remnants of what was once the biggest homeless community in Honolulu will remain until Tuesday, as the city’s maintenance crew needs at least an extra day to finish the cleanup work. It had planned to finish Monday but delayed its return until Tuesday.
Ross Sasamura, director of the Honolulu Department of Facility Maintenance, said his crew had hoped to finish up the work Friday but ran into more trash than expected during the two-day sweep of the encampment.
On Thursday, the maintenance crew swept Ilalo, Ahui and parts of Olomehani streets, clearing out two and a half dump trucks full of trash. The crew was expected to spend all of Friday working on the remainder of Olomehani Street and parts of Ohe Street.
Before the sweep began, the longtime residents had posted placards along Ohe Street to protest the sweeps. One took Gov. David Ige to task for allowing the encampment’s demolition, saying, “How would you feel if a family member of yours became homeless?”
According to Scott Morishige, the governor’s coordinator on homelessness, 48 people from Kakaako have moved to the shelters this week — primarily to the Institute for Human Services, the Next Step shelter and the Lighthouse Outreach Center.
“By working together, we have made a positive difference in the lives of these individuals and families. This would not have been possible without close coordination between homeless outreach providers, shelters, the state and the city and county of Honolulu,” Morishige said.
Sasamura said, when the final push to clear out the encampment resumes, “We’re going to finish what we started — however long it takes,” he said.
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