LIHUE — The County of Kauai may establish a safe zone to help the homeless population.
“While the county has not implemented a safe zone here on Kauai, it is an option that we are considering,” Sarah Blane, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s chief of staff, wrote in an email. “However, we would need to ensure that we site a location that has access to water, electricity and is in close proximity to services. Proper management and security of the site would also be key factors that we would need to work out prior to us proposing a safe zone or similar operation.”
Outreach workers visited with the homeless Wednesday in front of the Historic County Building during “Hope in the Park” sponsored by the Kauai Community Alliance in recognition of Homeless Awareness Week.
About 50 people, including representatives from the different agencies dealing with hunger and homelessness turned out for information, a free chili lunch, and prizes, including a month’s pass on The Kauai Bus.
“It works,” said Cheyenne Balino. “These are the same people who helped me. I used to live on the streets. They listened to me and helped me. I have a house and I’m ready to go back to school in January.”
She was born on the Westside.
“Everything was good until I ran into drugs. I became homeless for a few years; it’s rough living on the streets, here. But I reached out, and got help to get me back into a house, and now, I’m ready for school. You need to apply, and comply.”
Others felt the gathering did not do enough as one homeless lady complained that the information did not go to where the homeless are staying.
“What about the other places?” she said. “I want a house, but I don’t qualify. I pay for a broken truck which I’m not supposed to drive, but how can you get around? I can’t even get a job at a gas station because of my record from 16 years ago. Everybody says, ‘yeah, yeah’ but nobody comes when you ask.”
Public health nurses from the Department of Health, Kauai Division Office, were offering free blood pressure readings.
The awareness week continues as the Westside Christian Center is hosting a meal Thursday and on Sunday, will be joined by the Aloha Church in distributing food bags.
The Salvation Army, Lihue Corps, will host its annual Community Thanksgiving Luncheon Wednesday at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.
A similar luncheon will be hosted at the same time at the Salvation Army, Hanapepe Corps for Westside people.