State plans to break up Oahu’s largest homeless camp
HONOLULU (AP) — The state plans to evict residents from Oahu’s largest homeless camp as early as June, officials said.
The camp called Puuhonua o Waianae has been called a model nationally for its strong sense of community and tough rules for occupants, Hawaii News Now reported Thursday.
Just over 200 residents live on the property near the Waianae small boat harbor.
The state’s homeless czar, Scott Morishige, told the Waianae Neighborhood Board on Tuesday that the goal is to “transition people to other options.” He said the Land Board will take up the issue at its meeting March 23.
“It’s really been a question on how to balance the Department of Land and Natural Resources responsibility for managing state land and the cultural and environmental resources with the needs of the people who are residing there,” Morishige said.
Representatives from the camp said they’re disappointed and want the sweep put on hold until a plan for moving residents is agreed upon.
Supporters of the camp have acknowledged it’s on public land illegally, but have called on the state to ensure its residents are transitioned to another property or other housing options.
Cindy McMillan, communications director for the governor, said the administration is talking to residents of the homeless camp and the surrounding community “and beyond that, we’re just not going to be commenting.”
“Our office continues to work very closely with the residents there, with the community there and we have made a commitment not to speak publicly about the transition plans while those conversations are ongoing,” McMillan said.
The state wants to create a marine educational science center on the property.
Information from: KGMB-TV, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/