Inflatable, mobile homeless shelters could be coming to Oahu
Honolulu Police have a new idea that could temporarily house the homeless who can't get into area shelters because of overflow: portable, inflatable shelters.
Honolulu Police have a new idea that could temporarily house the homeless: inflatable shelters.
Leaders of HPD's HELP unit (the Health, Efficiency, Long-Term Partnerships program) presented the idea to Honolulu's police commission on Wednesday.
They calling it a "lift zone" because certain park rules will need to be lifted in order for the shelter to be deployed. The shelters are manufactured in Philadelphia, are about 414 square feet, and can be unpacked and fully operational in about seven minutes.
Captain Mike Lambert with HPD said the biggest issue that HELP officers run into is that some nights there is not enough bed space, or sometimes there's not enough bed space for a specific demographic like single males or individuals with animals.
The structures are not permanently fixed in one place and are not permanent homes. They're just up long enough to provide help.
"What we don't want to lose is an opportunity to help someone," said Capt. Lambert. "Instead of losing an opportunity what we're asking is to be able to put up a mobile navigation center where we can collect the overflow and, however long it takes for the flow to work out of the area shelters, they can remain there safely until we can place them accordingly."
Cpt. Lambert said these units have been used in other cities to help first responders, or help in emergencies. And he adds they can be re-purposed to help if there is an emergency.
The plan's also been presented to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Next up, city councilmembers. HPD is hoping to bring this to each district of Oahu, and will ask councilmembers to provide an area that would be appropriate for deploying the new shelter.