- Associated Press - Friday, November 13, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii officials have been warning homeless people camped out along the Kakaako shoreline that they would be removed in sweeps that were slated to begin as early as Thursday, but it is unclear when the clearing will come as eight private companies turned down the chance to bid for the contracts.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority asked eight companies to submit bids on how much they would charge to clear out the encampments, but all declined, according to The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1H0EBQh ).

“We solicited for our contractor to actually remove the physical belongings left behind, trash, that sort of thing,” said the HCDA’s Lindsey Doi. “None of them were willing to take on the job. A lot of it had to do with staffing.”

With the clearing out of homeless encampments a hot button issue, Doi acknowledge that some of the companies may not have wanted the high-profile publicity.

“That could have played a part of it,” Doi said. “No one actually made a bid.”

The state also asked for assistance from the city, but been denied. The city helped clear out the Kakaako Makai encampment, but Ross Sasamura, director and chief engineer for Honolulu’s Department of Facility Maintenance, said they are only able to enforce ordinances n city property and rights-of-way.

The state Department of Transportation twice a year has maintenance crews clear homeless encampments on DOT land, but spokesman Tim Sakahara said the current encampments are not in their jurisdiction.

The two encampments in question cropped up shortly after the city finished clearing streets surrounding the University of Hawaii’s medical school. The new encampments are on state land owned by the HCDA.

Doi said there is no set plan or date to start sweeping the encampments, but that homeless people should still be prepared to relocate.

“I wouldn’t say the pressure’s off at all,” Doi said. “I would say the pressure is only increasing. We know the issue is growing, and we want to address it as quickly as we can but in the right way.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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