Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: With All the Help They Get, Why are Homeless Living in Parks/Streets?

July 10, 2016, 12:02 PM HST
* Updated July 10, 12:40 PM
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Alamaha Ave., Kahului homeless encampment, May 2016. Photo credit: Susan Miller

Alamaha Ave., Kahului homeless encampment, May 2016. Photo credit: Susan Miller

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.

Dear Mayor,

Q: Every day on my way to and from work I see numerous homeless individuals and families.

With all the effort and money going toward helping these folks, why do we still have homeless living on the streets, and in our parks and out-of-the-way places?

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A: Our existing homeless facilities are over-capacity, which is why many families without affordable housing often have to resort to living out of their car or at the beach.

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In order for us to properly help these people, one of the most pressing things we need to do is to expand the capacity of these existing providers while the governor’s emergency proclamation on homelessness is still in place.

Right now we have the opportunity to proceed much more quickly and efficiently with expansion plans because certain permitting, zoning and other requirements that normally present long-term roadblocks are temporarily suspended under the proclamation.

It appears the County Council is ready and willing to work with my administration on this issue, and I am hopeful that we can move forward soon on workable solutions to help the people who need our assistance the most, especially families with children and working adults who just cannot make ends meet.

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