Kakaako homeless group wants state to provide land for a 'safe place'
A group of homeless residents in Kaka'ako are working towards finding state land to live on permanently.
KAKAAKO, Hawaii - A group of homeless residents in Kaka'ako are working towards finding state land to live on permanently.
KITV4's Mika Miyashima tells us what the group hopes to gain by having the safe space and why the city is against the idea.
For the past six months Ka Po'e o Kaka'ako , or the People of Kaka'ako, have met at Mauka Park to pick up trash.
"To help build community, they decided to host weekly clean-ups, Saturday mornings, 10 am-12, with a potluck lunch afterwards." says Alani Apio, a member of a volunteer group, Hui Aloha.
Moving forward ,group members say it hopes to start their own neighborhood watch program to cut down on crime and build their own community.
Apio, describes what that would look like. "Waianae has created a community as such that we're actually trying to model after. It's called Pu'uhonua Waianae. They are working with Lt. Gov Josh Green now, to see if the government has property nearby that they could actually move to."
The group has drafted community rules and expectations and is asking park residents to sign if they wanted to move to such spaces if and when available.
John Kaulupali is the unofficial spokesperson for Ka Po'e 'o Kaka'ako and will also live in the proposed safe place. "Basically run ourselves as a community within a community, that also helps our community. We are here to create a mutual living space. so that we can all live together, work together and become more than just an eye-sore out here."
While some say living in a shelter means leaving behind a support system, belongings, even ending up back in the streets and worse off than before.
However, the city says otherwise. "This is in a place that's beautiful, people say hey why not have these safe zones and sanctuaries. We know they don't work. Just look at San Francisco's increase in homelessness or Seattle or any of these other places, " said Marc Alexander, the city's Executive Director of the Office of Housing. "It's not right. It's wrong for people to stay in an unsheltered setting. It's not fit for human habitation by definition, and we need to say no. We won't support this, we won't enable it. We're going to help you get into this shelter setting where we can help you."
Apio wants to make something clear about this community: "They just would like to find a place where they don't get swept daily and can rebuild their lives, that's what they are after."