Dangerous, Filthy Homeless Encampments Force Closure of Hawaii Public Park Indefinitely

A homeless man washes an old area rug at a homeless encampment in the Kakaako district of Honolulu.

Kakaako Waterfront Park on the island of Oahu has been closed indefinitely in order to repair the damage done by a large homeless population that has been camping there in makeshift huts and tents. This is an unprecedented move by the state of Hawaii. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has details about the massive damage and public safety hazards in the park. 

"[P]ark officials say they can no longer ensure the safety of park users following a recent series of dog bites, fires and vandalism attributed to an estimated 180 homeless people living along the Kakaako shoreline....Right now, with dog attacks and exposed wires and broken plumbing, it’s just not safe," the report explained.

The beautiful islands of Hawaii harbor a longstanding but growing problem: Homelessness is a plague that seems to have no solution. Hawaii's beaches are its lifeblood, the draw for millions of tourists who keep Hawaii going. The beaches are also all public, a point of contention with many big hotels that would like to have private beaches for their clientele but are not allowed to by state law. This high regard for public access to all Hawaii beaches makes the move by the state to indefinitely close off Kakaako Park even more unusual and upsetting to residents. Fearing blowback and public shaming for speaking out, residents would only speak to PJ Media using pseudonyms. "Bonnie," born and raised in Honolulu, voiced her frustration at the care the homeless receive while taxpayers foot the bill.

"People are so concerned about the homeless -- who will be concerned for the middle class? The homeless steal, and in effect they literally steal public places by living there; they steal private land by living there," she complained. "They pick prime oceanfront parks to live and dare the rest of us to sound cruel when we say enough is enough. We play by all the rules, they play by none. Our community had to hire private security at our own cost to remove homeless encampments from our private property to keep the drugs and human waste out of our communities. They were using our yards as toilets, spreading disease, and the state wouldn't do anything."

Hawaii is one of the most expensive places to live. There is no such thing as affordable housing there unless you get government assistance. Because of this, and many other issues such as drug addiction and mental illness, the homeless population has grown to around ten thousand people in Hawaii living on the streets. The homeless at Kakaako Park have made that beach a nightmare for the public to visit as it became rife with human waste, wild dogs, and downed electrical wires they had pulled out of poles to wire their tents.