Homeless camp cleared from embankment above Hawaii freeway
Jul. 26, 2017
HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii homeless camp that was perched on an embankment above the H-1 freeway has been cleared.
The camp clearing on Tuesday morning was part of the state's effort to clear homeless camps near roadways. At least 80 homeless people live along the highway.
Up until this month, transportation officials had said that limited money and manpower made it impossible to stop the camping. But $2 million from the state Legislature combined with another $2 million from the state Department of Transportation's maintenance budget allowed the hiring of a private contractor to keep campers out.
"The focus right now is on the health and safety aspect," Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara said. "Certainly it's a not a safe place for people to be living and we want to avoid any potential incidents as well with debris or rubbish falling down the embankment, possibly onto the roadway itself."
Corinna Aipia, who for the past year has lived in one of the cleared tents, said she is going to miss her spot near the Punchbowl exit and is not sure where she will end up next.
Outreach workers have been offering shelter ahead of the sweeps.
Once enforcement is complete, state authorities will be tasked with monitoring the area to make sure no one comes back.