Ask the Mayor: What Can Be Done About Maui’s Homeless?

June 26, 2016, 12:00 PM HST · Updated June 26, 2:38 PM
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Kamaole III

Homeless at Kama‘ile !!!. “I sent you a picture of what we saw, and what the other families with children at the park saw, too.” “Ask the Mayor” photo, June 2016.

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

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], call 270-7855 or send them 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.

Aloha Mr. Mayor,

Q: I recently went home to Maui over the Memorial Day weekend and was so blessed to see the sugar mill operating for what may be my last time and enjoyed the beautifully paved roads of Maui.

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I live on O‘ahu and if we don’t have potholes (more like craters), then it’s a miracle. And of course I miss all the ‘ono food I crave until the next time I get home.

I am originally from Kīhei, where most of my ‘ohana continues to reside. I was saddened to see what Kīhei is coming to—not because of all the tourists and buildings, but because of the drunken homeless out in the open on the sidewalks sitting or lying there with their booze and “‘olo” hanging out at Times Supermarket, St. Theresa’s and Foodland.

They are also moving in at the beach parks.

We were at a family picnic at Kama‘ole III, close to the Kam II side, and there was a tent of drunken homeless. People in my ‘ohana said that they’ve been there for awhile.

The area around them smelled so awful with urine and crap.

I sent you a picture of what we saw, and what the other families with children at the park saw, too.

Right there in the open, a women dropped her pants, peed and wiped herself. This happened two times.

I know O‘ahu has a worse problem with the homeless, but please, don’t let the beauty of Maui be spoiled like O‘ahu.

I come from the era of the hippies—1969-1970—and I can’t remember it being this bad.

Please continue to keep Maui  ka ʻoi, not Maui o ka stink.

Thank you for your time.

A: My administration transmitted a package of bills to the County Council last November in hopes of addressing the homelessness issues you mentioned, as well as other problems related to homelessness.

While the council did not take any action on the bills, which pertained to public defecation, a proposed sit-lie ban, funding for emergency individual shelters and other time-sensitive measures, I am hopeful that they will take advantage of the latest extension of the governor’s emergency proclamation on homelessness.

This fifth supplemental proclamation will remain in effect until August of this year, and will facilitate cross-sector collaboration by removing many of the major roadblocks that these types of measures would be faced with.

So while it’s too late for the council to pass something for this fiscal year, thanks to the governor’s extension, the council can pass a budget amendment for Fiscal Year 2017, which begins in a few weeks on July 1.

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