Homeless campers cleared out of Kakaako after new law enforced

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The sidewalks in Kakaako were cleared out by city and state crews Thursday morning.

Nearby businesses say homeless campers are taking over the area.

“They just came. I guess this is another sweep,” homeless camper Darrel Maxwell said.

City, state, and law enforcement officials cleared out some of the homeless campers in Kakaako on Thursday.

“The city owns the sidewalks and the state owns the grassy area and the parking lots and the parks down here in Kakaako,” City of Honolulu Spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said.

The new city sidewalk nuisance law took effect July 1. This was the third round of enforcement.

“The city crews come down here and let them know we are going to enforce Bill 7 here and they have 15 minutes to leave. Anything they want to take, they can take with then. Anything they don’t, the city is happy to dispose of,” Broder Van Dyke said.

“You may reclaim your property within 30 days from today,” one official said.

City crews are required to inform homeless campers of the new rules whether they are present or not. Seized items can be reclaimed by paying a $200 fee. After 30 days, the seized items will be disposed of.

“My stance is I have no where else to take my stuff and we can’t go into the park or anywhere else, so if I have to move my stuff from here to here,” Maxwell said.

The entire block was taken over by more than a dozen homeless campers, forcing nearby businesses to attempt to block off part of the sidewalk to keep homeless away.

“There’s a problem island wide, people using the sidewalks for personal use. The sidewalks are designed for people to walk across. It’s a safety issue,” Broder Van Dyke said.

Some homeless say they don’t bother anyone.

“I leave plenty of access for people to get by. I keep my stuff concealed and away from the public,” Maxwell said.

City officials say they partner with homeless, mental illness, and drug abuse assistance outreach programs aimed at helping the campers.

“I don’t know what the solution is yet. I don’t have the answer to that,” Maxwell said.

Click here for the text of Honolulu City & County Ordinance 13-8 (PDF)
Purpose. HRS Section 46-1.5(12) authorizes the City and County of Honolulu to enact and enforce ordinances necessary to prevent or summarily remove public nuisances and to compel the clearing or removal of any public nuisance from sidewalks. The purpose of this ordinance is to authorize the summary removal by the city of public nuisances from the sidewalk.

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