City council delays start date for laws targeting homeless
Laws targeting Oahu's homeless population may be put on hold. On Monday, Honolulu City Council members will debate delaying the enforcement of new city laws because they say they want more information about the services and solutions available for people. Some are for the delay, but there are some community leaders pushing for action now, like State Senator Maile Shimabukuro (D- Kalaeloa, Waianae, Makaha). "There's just a feeling among many people of frustra...
HONOLULU - Laws targeting Oahu's homeless population may be put on hold. On Monday, Honolulu City Council members will debate delaying the enforcement of new city laws because they say they want more information about the services and solutions available for people.
Some are for the delay, but there are some community leaders pushing for action now, like State Senator Maile Shimabukuro (D- Kalaeloa, Waianae, Makaha).
"There's just a feeling among many people of frustration," Shimabukuro sums up, of the concerns of those on Oahu's West Side. Some say homeless set ups on beaches and sidewalks cause problems for residents, while others worry there's not enough resources for homeless individuals.
Shimabukuro says she's seen progress in other Oahu districts where homeless laws are enforced, and she supports Mayor Kirk Caldwell's plans to take the enforcement island wide. "To me, its really a matter of fairness. You know, I'm just looking for fairness for my community."
But she may have to wait. On Monday, Honolulu City Councilors will decide if they should hold off on enforcing laws like the newly enacted sidewalk obstruction and lodging bills, in order to wait for timetables outlining services and housing solutions available.
Some are in favor of a delay, saying this gives the city time to address the need for medical care, mental health and other social services. But others - like Shimabukuro - are pushing for action now.
"We've seen homeless numbers increase in our community and then when authorities are called, we're told, 'Oh, they can't really do anything because this ban doesn't apply,' so it's very frustrating," Shimabukuro says.
A spokesperson from Mayor Caldwell's office sent KITV4 a statement saying, "The action plan submitted by the administration to get more people into housing or shelter is comprehensive and far-reaching... City Council leadership holds the key to begin enforcement of bills 51 and 52 and the public demands action. It's been 25 days since Mayor Caldwell signed both bills into law."
City Councilors are asking for public input at Monday's 1 p.m. hearing. If you can't attend, there's still time to submit testimony via email, fax, or calling it in.
Information on the Committee on Public Works, Infrastructure and Sustainability Special Meeting Agenda on Monday, November 5 at 1 p.m.:
RESOLUTION 18-246 - HONOLULU’S HOMELESS ACTION PLAN FOR ALL COUNCIL DISTRICTS.
Withholding Action on the City and County of Honolulu’s Homeless Action Plan for All Council Districts, Pending Timely Submittal of Specific Timetables for Services and Homeless Solutions.
Persons wishing to testify are requested to register by 1:00 p.m. as follows:
a. On-Line at http://www.honolulu.gov/ccl-testimony-form.html; b. By faxing to 768-3827 your name, phone number and the agenda item; c. By filling out the registration form in person; or d. By calling 768-3818.
Persons who have not registered to testify will be given an opportunity to speak on an item following oral testimonies of the registered speakers.
Each speaker is limited to a one-minute presentation.
Written testimony may be faxed to 768-3827 or transmitted via internet at http://www.honolulu.gov/ccl-testimony-form.html; for distribution at the meeting.
If submitted, written testimonies, including the testifier’s address, e-mail address, and phone number, may be posted by the City Clerk and available to the public on the City’s DocuShare Website.