A good night’s sleep in Waikiki is hard to come by for Roberta Huddy.
She became homeless about a year ago after losing her job as a guest services agent at one of the hotels.
Now Huddy, who was born and raised on Kauai, lives in a worn-down Chevrolet Astro with her husband, Greg, on Kalakaua Avenue next to Kapiolani Park.
Their few belongings fill the vehicle from the passenger seat to the back hatch, blankets on the floor serving as a makeshift bed.
The van is also their getaway vehicle. It allows them to avoid police and city park crews who have ramped up their efforts to clear the homeless out of Waikiki.
Like many others who live on the streets, the Huddys are on the run.
“All they say is that we should move around,” Huddy complained while perched on the edge of her Astro. “At night I like to go up to Kapahulu because at least there I can sleep in peace.”
An estimated 4,700 homeless people live on Oahu, 1,600 of them without any shelter. Those figures give Honolulu the dubious distinction of having one of the highest per capita rates of homelessness in the country.
By choosing to live in Waikiki, the Huddys and others are on the front lines of a campaign to combat homelessness in the tourist mecca. And lately, they’re part of a nightly migration resulting from city efforts to enforce park closure hours and other ordinances to keep the sidewalks clean.
Those efforts take two basic forms: occasional major sweeps that can result in dozens of arrests, …