A bill that would allow the city to remove property left on city sidewalks and parks for more than 24 hours is awaiting the mayor's signature.
The Honolulu City Council voted 8-1 to approve the measure on Wednesday, after lengthy and heated public testimony.
Immediately after the vote, oppponents of the bill chanted, "This bill is unconstitutional," and, "Remember who you really serve."
"It's a really emotional and hard thing to deal with to sit through all this -- basically, giving police a right to take all that people have on earth,? said opponent of the bill Luke Satsuma.
"Our goal with this bill is to make sure that everyone in our community is kept safe and has access to our public spaces," said Honolulu Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard, who introduced the bill.
Councilmembers voted in favor of the bill even though opponents were in the majority at Wednesday's public hearing.
"This is cruel and unusual punishment. It's a real travesty. These people are struggling to stay alive and you're going to take away the last of their possessions,? said David Carnell, who is homeless and uses a wheelchair.
Opponents also expressed concern about the cost of clearing, hauling and storing confiscated property.
But city attorneys told the council the city intends to use resources from its current budget.
Supporters of the bill also expressed concern about costs.
"Costs are already being borne by the public. The community has lost in terms of public access, public safety and health issues and lost businesses," said Lee Stack, president of the Chinatown Improvement District.
In the end, councilmembers sided with supporters of the bill.
Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said she voted on behalf of senior citizens.
"Many of them have expressed concern about walking on the sidewalk and their fear of tripping over a lot of stuff," Kobayashi said.
Councilman Stanley Chang said the bill could benefit the homeless in the long run.
"I think any true advocate for communication services would be advocating for dignified places for people to live," Chang said.
Councilman Romy Cachola was the only councilmember who opposed the bill.
"This Bill 54 doesn't go too far. We're spending money like crazy. We're just driving the homeless to all over the place," Cachola said.
After the vote, a lone homeless man used chalk to express his emotions on the sidewalk fronting Honolulu Hale.
He wrote, "Honolulu Hale hates the homeless."
City officials said say the bill would become law immediately after Mayor Peter Carlisle signs it.
But the city must still give 30 days notice before taking any action.
The mayor's office said the bill goes to city attorneys for review before Carlisle decides whether to sign the measure into law.