Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: What Can Be Done About the Homeless at Kanaha?

September 21, 2015, 7:18 AM HST
* Updated September 21, 2:44 PM
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Kanaha Pond. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Kanaha Pond. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Dear Mayor:

Q: I am concerned about the growing homeless camp by the fence bordering the wildlife sanctuary at Kanaha Pond. There’s already been one fire there this past week. There shouldn’t be anybody camping there, since it’s such a fragile environment with endangered birds and native plants. Can anything be done to keep people out of there?

A: Yes, however the encampment at Kanaha Pond is especially challenging because I believe it is situated on private property. We are contacting the property owner to work with them, as we cannot arbitrarily enter the property without the landowner’s permission.

You do ask a very good question about an issue that spreads far beyond Kanaha Pond, as our community’s homeless population is growing and so are the complaints. My office has been working on a number of bills that should help law enforcement better address some of the homeless problems.

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We also want to make it easier for people to build ‘ohana units or extensions to their home so that there are more options for long-term rentals.

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And finally, we want to give more money to our social services and nonprofit organizations that have the knowledge and experience to work with the homeless one-on-one; these groups have the expertise but need more resources.

These are short-term solutions designed to tackle this problem immediately. In the meantime, the Maui Homeless Alliance, a newly formed organization, will work on longer-term solutions. Thank you for raising this very important issue that impacts our entire community.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

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Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

 

 

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