Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Camp Aloha

Rep. Tom Brower speaks to the homeless before weekly church dinners at Kakaako Waterfront Park

Rep. Tom Brower (District 23 - Waikiki, Ala Moana) was invited to appear on The Rick Hamada Show, KHVH radio, this morning to talk about the homeless issue. Brower and his colleagues, Rep. John Mizuno and Rep. Rida Cabanilla, recently toured Kapiolani Park and Queen's Surf to talk to the homeless to determine what it will take to move them to other locations, if not shelters.

KITV story on Kapiolani tour here.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorial supporting tent cities concept here.

Brower says:

"While 'tent cities' are not a new idea, my office manager and I explored the feasibility of “homeless safe zones” for Hawaii this past January after speaking with advocates and providers last year. We went to talk with the homeless directly because no one has reasonable solutions for the chronic homeless, who won’t go to the shelters. We can either designate areas where the homeless can be or have them everywhere (by default) as they are currently. I believe some areas, due to economics, aesthetics or cultural importance etc., are too important to be overrun with homelessness.

Meanwhile, the State administration has not shown interest. I can understand their concerns regarding liability, safety and the fear of permanent tent cities, but I believe that to do nothing is worse than a good faith attempt to try out a promising solution and make adjustments along the way.

While former Mayor Hannemann recently publicly stated he is open to safe zones, the City’s community services department and State Comptroller seem hesitant to follow through. I have spoken with both the City and State Administration. I was approached by a group of church volunteers and a shelter manager, all of whom have experience with sheltering and feeding the homeless, who would like to see the safe zones implemented. They would be willing to provide the manpower and contribute their knowledge to our efforts."

In the 2010 legislative session, the House passed House Resolution 62 supporting the tent city proposal as part of the solution for homelessness.

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