Home­less fam­i­lies find hous­ing in af­ter­math of Kakaako sweeps

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - HAWAII REPORT - By Dan Nakaso dnakaso@starad­ver­tiser.com

While dozens of home­less peo­ple swept out of Kakaako parks set up new camp­sites in mauka parts of Kakaako, so­cial ser­vice outreach work­ers also moved two home­less Kakaako fam­i­lies into public hous­ing.

The fam­i­lies — a fam­ily of two and a fam­ily of five — had been on a two-year wait­ing list to get into public hous­ing, said Scott Mor­ishige, the state’s home­less co­or­di­na­tor.

“When the Sec­tion 8 public hous­ing wait list opened two years ago, we went out and tried to sign up as many peo­ple as we could for public hous­ing and Sec­tion 8 (vouch­ers), and now they’re be­ing called up on the list,” Mor­ishige said. “We re­ally have been work­ing closely with outreach providers to con­nect peo­ple with th­ese re­sources.”

Outreach work­ers from Kal­ihi-Palama Health Cen­ter will con­tinue to of­fer hous­ing and home­less ser­vices to chron­i­cally home­less through­out Kakaako, but it of­ten takes mul­ti­ple ap­proaches be­fore some agree to ac­cept help, he said.

“It un­der­scores the com­plex­i­ties of home­less­ness,” Mor­ishige said. “Some­times peo­ple don’t al­ways get off the street the first time we en­counter them.”

To­day (Wed­nes­day) we had five peo­ple go into shel­ter. We re­ally are try­ing to make the con­nec­tions and get to the root of how we can find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion.”

Scott Mor­ishige

State’s home­less co­or­di­na­tor

THE FAM­I­LIES who moved into public hous­ing were in ad­di­tion to a fam­ily of four that was placed into the state’s Fam­ily As­sess­ment Cen­ter near Kakaako Wa­ter­front Park in the af­ter­math of Mon­day’s night’s firstever sweep by Honolulu po­lice in the Kakaako state parks.

Two home­less adults also agreed to move into Waikiki Health’s Next Step Shel­ter, on the ewa edge of Kakaako Wa­ter­front Park.

And on Wed­nes­day, Mor­ishige said so­cial ser­vice work­ers, the state Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and state Depart­ment of Land and Nat­u­ral Re­sources also teamed up to move five home­less peo­ple from var­i­ous home­less en­camp­ments into dif­fer­ent shel­ters.

Two peo­ple liv­ing along Nimitz High­way in the Iwilei area agreed to go into the Wa­ianae Civic Cen­ter shel­ter and an­other from the area re­lo­cated to the In­sti­tute for Hu­man Ser­vice’s women’s shel­ter in Iwilei; One per­son liv­ing nearby on Sand Is­land went into the city’s Hale Mauli­ola navigation cen­ter on Sand Is­land run by IHS; And one per­son liv­ing in Kaimuki near Ka­pahulu and Hard­ing av­enues also went to Next Step, Mor­ishige said.

While large-scale sweeps get most of the public’s at­ten­tion, Mor­ishige said this week’s suc­cess­ful ef­forts to move some chron­i­cally home­less peo­ple off the street rep­re­sents “a typ­i­cal day for my of­fice.”

“To­day we had five peo­ple go into shel­ter,” he said. “We re­ally are try­ing to make the con­nec­tions and get to the root of how we can find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion.”

ON WED­NES­DAY, the Hawaii Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity’s board of direc­tors voted unan­i­mously to trans­fer Kakaako Wa­ter­front Park, its sis­ter parks and other smaller state-owned prop­er­ties in Kakaako to the city. For years, home­less peo­ple had been avoid­ing sweeps by mov­ing back and forth be­tween the state-owned parks and city side­walks.

When ex­actly the ti­tle to the ap­prox­i­mately 41 acres of land will trans­fer from the state to the city is un­known, said Gar­rett Kamem­oto, the HCDA’s in­terim ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

“The lawyers still need to work out a num­ber of de­tails,” Kamem­oto said. “We’re hop­ing to do it quickly. At this point, the board has given us our di­rec­tion. Now it’s a mat­ter of work­ing out all the le­gal­i­ties.”

The HCDA board voted 7-to-0, with two ab­sences, to ap­prove the land trans­fer.

The board pre­vi­ously ap­proved con­tin­u­ing to fund $600,000 in main­te­nance and se­cu­rity con­tracts through June 30, 2019, at the city’s re­quest, Kamem­oto said.


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