Hawaii Officials Evict Kakaako Homeless03/15/2011
UPDATED 5:25 p.m. 3/15/11
As scores of homeless were evicted from the Kakaako area Tuesday, state officials acknowledged that what they were doing is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
Hawaii Homeless Coordinator Marc Alexander told Civil Beat the effort is a push toward personal responsibility. Homeless have been driven from Ala Moana and Kapiolani parks in years past. In the past few months, makeshift tents and tarps strung up on fences and poles had sprung up and were visible from Ala Moana Boulevard, the tourist route to Waikiki, and planted near the University of Hawaii medical school.
"I think people do have to be encouraged and pushed to take responsibility," Alexander said while canvasing Kakaako. "There are services available. There is room in our shelters. There are people ready to help people help themselves. And some of the homeless need to be encouraged to take those services seriously."
Homeless in the neighborhood were given a few weeks notice before being told to move, Alexander said. Volunteer crews from Kamehameha Schools and shelters teamed up with the Hawaii Community Development Authority to aid in the work - and there was plenty of it, with dozens of shelters still visible.
Update Volunteers told Civil Beat the work could last through Wednesday. But, a drive-through of the area around 4 o'clock Tuesday showed all tents and shelters had been removed with very few traces of the once large homeless community left. A few sparse trash piles remained, and the occasional rusty fan whirling from an on-shore breeze.