Lihue — The Department of Transportation has scheduled an assessment of a homeless encampment on Rice Street for April 17. The encampment itself rests on DOT land, something that has prompted the DOT to take immediate action.
After the assessment has been conducted, the DOT will remove the encampment and any occupants that reside there.
Service providers will be on hand when the DOT conducts their initial assessment to offer assistance for any homeless occupants that are willing to go into shelters.
“I haven’t done an exhaustive survey, but it certainly appears that a good portion of where they are occupying is on DOT land, if not all,” Hawaii Department of Transportation’s District Engineer, Larry Dill said. “I am satisfied just by looking at it that they are on DOT land.”
DOT Homeless Director Jun Yang is scheduled to fly into Kauai on April 17 from O’ahu to perform an assessment on the state land the encampment is affixed on.
“I’m supposed to fly in on the 17th to prep and also coordinate with service providers in the area to check in on what is necessary for the cleanup, but also to make sure our service providers are connecting with these individuals that are there on site,” Jang said.
Yang said similar cleanups have been performed on O’ahu, but have never been done before on Kauai.
“We’ll come in and we’ll give notification,” Yang said. “We usually give enough time just to inform individuals, ‘hey, want to let you know that we will be coming here in about a week (after the assessment) to do the cleanup,’ and we usually do a connection with service providers so when we’re going out there, service provider either come with us or will join us at another time during the week to connect with individuals.”
Yang said the DOT wants to be sure to give individuals the best opportunity to get into a shelter if they want to. On O’ahu, Yang pointed to a high success rate for similar circumstances.
“I can’t tell you exactly where they will go,” Yang said. “As we have been doing this, and especially on O’ahu, we have been doing this and there have been over 400 people who have gone into shelter. It doesn’t mean that they stay in shelter, doesn’t mean that they stay for long term.”
The land directly behind the encampment is listed as being owned by the Lihue MS LLC, according to the County of Kauai’s parcel map.
Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.