Hawaii Homeless Shelter in Kakaako Is 'A Mess'

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

The good news for the 90 or so men living at the Next Step homeless shelter in Kakaako is that the hot water could be fixed as early as Tuesday.

It's been on and off — mostly off — since at least November, and maybe longer.

The bad news is that the men, women and children — about 200 in all — at Next Step will still have to make do with a roof that leaks like a sieve during rainstorms.

And bedbugs, roaches and rats.

And that's despite the $1 million a year the state spends to operate it.

"We want it to be as good a place as it can be, but it will never be a perfect place," said Darlene Hein of the Waikiki Health Center, which contracts with the state to run the facility. "It's a warehouse with people living in cubicles. We are trying to do our best and fixing what we can."

But at least one longtime user of the facility says he fears that the shelter is beyond help.

"The thing that I found out is that this place is a mess," said David Cannell. "It is run very poorly, and the hot water is just the latest saga. It's not a shelter — it's a homeless abyss."

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