Potential new site for Wai'anae homeless village worries Piliuka Place residents
There are plans in place for the 10-acre homeless village to move from its current site near the harbor to a location along Wai'anae Valley road.
Using about $800,000 raised from private donations, Pu'uhonua 'O Wai'anae (POW) bought 20 acres near Piliuka Place. The deal is currently in escrow. Plans for the property include clusters of tiny homes, plus communal kitchens and bathrooms.
"We're defining what a Hawaiian community is and should be. Returning to an old sensibility of place which is that kauhale style, that village style," said Kawika McKeague, principal planner for G70, which is providing architecture, planning and design services pro bono to POW.
The sale of the property's not final yet -- but current Piliuka Place residents claim the newcomers are already disrupting the neighborhood -- and some fear retaliation for speaking up.
"I don't want to live next to that. I don't want to live next to 400 some people with mental and drug addictions. I have 6 kids. I'm going to be forced to move," one resident said.
"This place is not set up for anything like that, infrastructure wise, everything. This is a no flood zone, this is agricultural land. We got people leaving here that work all their lives for their homes. It's going to depreciate the value of their homes," another resident said.
But homeless advocates say they will work with the community to ease their fears.
"We are committed to working with the neighbors to being as approachable as possible, willing to take actions and take steps, especially if they have suggestions to mitigate any concerns," said James Li'ili'i Pakele, board president of POW's non-profit partner, Dynamic Community Solutions.
Twinkle Borge, leader of Pu'uhonua 'O Wai'anae, says all she wants is a chance to be good neighbors.
"What I don't know I come scared, it's natural as a parent, as a mother," she said. "We need to break that stigma them thinking that only drug addicts is houseless, that's not true."
A neighborhood board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of Waianae District Park, 85-601 Farrington Highway.