- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - As families living in a large homeless encampment in Honolulu worked to repair the tents and tarps they call home after a series of downpours, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that crews will begin clearing out a section of the Kakaako camp in a little more than a week.

People in encampment, which has grown to include nearly 200 tents and 300 people, had been allowed to stay on the sidewalks in the area since late last year.

But Caldwell said at a news conference Thursday that signs will be posted Monday to notify people living there that enforcement will occur starting September 8.

City and state crews will begin clearing the outer edges of the camp to enforce a rule that prohibits storing property on sidewalks. Starting the day after Labor Day, they will clear the area along Cooke Street and Ohe Street between Ilalo Street and Ala Moana Boulevard, Caldwell said.

City and state officials have worked with service providers over recent weeks to move people from the Kakaako camp into emergency shelters. They helped 28 people, including five families and six single adults, get off the streets, said Scott Morishige, the governor’s coordinator on homelessness.

“We were able to move a similar number of people out of shelter and into supportive housing,” Morishige said.

In Kakaako, Vito Talo, who lives along Ohe street with his three daughters in a multi-room makeshift structure, was out repairing his living area Thursday after a series of downpours. His block is among those that are going to be cleared.

“That was to be expected, because the place is getting out of hand,” Talo said. “I guess we just take it as it comes.”

Even so, Talo was disappointed that the sweep was going to occur without a clear plan for where all the people would go.

“It’s hard, especially when you have a family, and when it’s girls,” Talo said. “It’s okay, it could be worse. As far as where we’re going to go, I don’t know.”

Critics say the enforcement makes it harder for homeless people to get back on their feet.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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