Children’s Discovery Center pleads for help to combat growing problems

What can be done to help the businesses and the homeless in Kakaako?

State and city officials say there is no easy solution, but those who deal with the issue daily are pleading for help.

KHON2 News first reported how the State Department of Public Safety received emergency funding to hire a security guard to patrol it’s building off Ala Moana Boulevard.

This, after reports of harassment by a homeless person.

Homeless people living in Kakaako and businesses in Kakaako are going through tough times.

“It’s not a good situation for anyone,” said Loretta Yajima of the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center.

As people continue to trickle into Kakaako and the number of tents increases, recent numbers from the Honolulu Police Department show crime has steadily increased in the area.

Now, some places are adding extra security, but all the businesses may not be able to.

“We have gotten many quotes from private security companies for a security guard service, but it is very difficult as a nonprofit organization to be able to afford that,” said Yajima.

Since the Children’s Discovery Center is a nonprofit organization, they were told they don’t qualify for assistance from the State or City.

“I don’t think that people realized how it has affected us not just in the past six months or the past year,” said Yajima. “My hesitancy to talk to much about it is really I don’t want to scare the families and the children.”

Yajima says her employees come to work early to clean up the area.

“And so we come in very early in the morning to make sure the grounds are clean, that there is not any vandalism at night, but it’s coming with the critical mass and the number of people that are living so close,” said Yajima.

The State and City are both working to find solutions, but so far nothing has been done.

“We feel very compassionate towards all the children both in the encampment as well as the families that bring their children to the center so we do realize this is a very complex issue,” said Yajima.

KHON2 also spoke to people living in the homeless encampment.

“I do respect the sit and lie law especially around business areas because it kind of puts a black eye on businesses,” said Robert, who lives in a tent in Kakaako. “Nobody wants people sleeping around business.”

But he says Kakaako is the only place they can go at the moment.

“It took one bad apple to make it sound like everyone is all bad apples over here, but that is not true, that is not true there are really a lot of good people out here,” said Robert. “Its unfortunate that they are out here and it just takes one bad apple and everyone thinks that is how it is everyday.”

While both sides face different issues, both sides are hoping something is done soon to address the problems.

“There are a lot of really good people out here and they are all just cramped up and I think the state is trying to get some housing, but it’s really going slow,” said Robert. “Hopefully the state will get this housing and stuff like that in order so these people can get out of here.”


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