Civil Beat: the homeless camp at Waianae Boat Harbor
The homeless camp in Waianae that has grown into a homeless community appears to be on the verge of getting shut down.
The homeless camp in Waianae that has grown into a homeless community appears to be on the verge of getting shut down. That's the topic of our Civil Beat this week.
Chad Blair: State officials surprised a lot of people on Tuesday when they made an unscheduled appearance at a neighborhood board meeting and said they planned to get everyone off the Waianae Boat Harbor property by June. People have been living there for more than a decade.
Paula Akana: This homeless community has a name, has a leader, even had an open house and has been held up as essentially a model for what a homeless safe zone should be. The problem is the location.
Chad Blair: It's on state land and the state wants to put a marine education center there. The area is home to a rare species of shrimp.
Paula Akana: In regards to that shrimp, community leader Twinkle Borge has expressed a willingness to protect it.
Chad Blair: Yes. Twinkle says her community knows it has a kuleana to care for the shrimp. They've even brought in a biologist to teach them how to do that.
Paula Akana: So what do the homeless residents think it boils down to?
Chad Blair: The state says its time line is based on a federal grant application. But residents worry that other factors, such as the upcoming election, may be driving the move.
Paula Akana: Probably the key question, what happens to everyone who's cleared out, we're talking 200 people.
Chad Blair: Therein lies the problem, state homeless coordinator Scott Morishige says they're working on several options, which could include land for the camp to relocate. But community leaders say June is not enough time to transition so many people.
Paula Akana: Pretty safe to bet there will be plenty of resistance to any sweeps.