Homeless camp cleared

  • Ryan Collins / The Garden Island

    State Department of Transportation staff and contractors confer after cleaning out a homeless encampment behind the Haleko Complex Shops in Lihue Wednesday.

  • Ryan Collins / The Garden Island

    Local Contractors with HTM pile up remnants of a homeless camp on state Department of Transportation land near Rice Street and Kaumualii Highway.

  • Ryan Collins / The Garden Island

    Renae Wa’alani and Penny with Women In Need wait for anybody who may need assistance Wednesday morning on Rice Street. Women In Need was among service providers on hand to help anyone displaced by the state Department of Transportation sweep.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Jun Yang, left, of the state Department of Transportation supervises contractors clearing an area behind the Haleko Complex Shops in Lihue Wednesday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Romy Quiros III works with June Munoz of Ho‘ola Lahui Hawaii Wednesday along the sidewalk on Rice Street after state Department of Transportation crews cleared the area behind Haleko Complex Shops in Lihue.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Contractors with the state Department of Transportation clear property behind the Haleko Complex Shops of personal belongings in Lihue Wednesday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Albert Soares, 63, wheels his bicycle along the sidewalk on Rice Street Wednesday morning after the state Department of Transportation swept through the homeless encampment behind the Haleko Complex Shops in Lihue.

LIHUE — In what is the start of an islandwide homeless encampment sweep, government agencies began removing unauthorized property and persons on a parcel of state land along Rice Street Wednesday morning.

The sweep near the Haleko Shop Complex was the second stage of removing the encampment which has been there for months, according to the Department of Transportation. The first stage was on April 17, when notices were posted to vacate under the possibility of receiving citations.

Authorities began moving in about 8:30 a.m., according to Homeless Director Jun Yung, who flew in from Oahu to oversee operations.

Renae Wa’alani, house manager and intake coordinator with Women In Need, who runs a home for women and children and does outpatient treatment and domestic violence classes, was on hand to offer assistance while local contractors, HTM, took apart the encampment.

“We gave the women our cards so they can come to our office if they need help,” Wa’alanai said. “So that’s what we do. There’s a procedure you have to go through to get into the house. Obviously, they can start from there if they want the help.”

For some business owners at the Haleko complex, the removal of the encampment came as a surprise, but with some relief.

Kauai Community Health Center employees watched through the windows of the Lihue community health center as the DOT and Kauai police took apart the complex, piece by piece, which has caused problems for the businesses in the area.

“It’s gonna be safer,” one employee said, who preferred not to be named. “It’s only because our employees work after dark and these people come when we’re closed, which makes it a little scary.”

Jung said the operation met little resistance.

“Everybody’s been peaceful, it’s just a matter of giving plenty of time to figure out what they want to do with their personal items,” Yung said. “That this is going to happen and have plenty of service providers to give them services.”

Yung said from his last report from the Kauai Economic Opportunity Wednesday morning, there were 11 beds available at the KEO shelter, which has a total of 19 beds. He said they encountered around “four or five people” who were still in the encampment.

DOT and Yang plan to remove encampments under the Wailua Bridge, the Pua Loke Arboretum, and eventually along the shores of Ahukini Landing. There is one known occupant under the Wailua Bridge, who is a veteran, according to Yang.

“It would be great to see him move into housing, and they have housing options,” he said.


Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or rcollins@thegardenisland.com.

  1. gordon oswald April 25, 2019 7:46 am Reply

    How about a free one way ticket back to their home state?

  2. manongindashadow0711 April 25, 2019 12:24 pm Reply

    Was the Supervisor necessary? Couldn’t the cleanup crew do it themselves? Just another fine example of wasting taxpayers money!

  3. John Holt April 25, 2019 12:26 pm Reply

    Although people are or become homeless does not mean they can trash the area they occupy. Please have some Aloha on Kaua’i. The once beautiful Kaua’i that I grew up on is becoming less and less Hawaiian. Too much people from elsewhere dominating my native home. My ancestors would be appalled. Shame on the people running the island!!!!!!!!!!

    1. jake April 25, 2019 8:40 pm Reply

      The whole idea is to actually get all of you locals off the island once and for all.

  4. RG DeSoto April 25, 2019 3:00 pm Reply

    So Kawakami hits up taxpayers to donate some of their free time to clean and maintain county facilities….why not get the homeless to do that in exchange for the handouts they get??
    RG DeSoto

    1. Michele Yardley April 30, 2019 9:00 am Reply

      That would be a huge liability. Plus the cost of supervision and organizing would cost as much if not more then paying employees to do it.

  5. manongindashadow0711 April 25, 2019 3:28 pm Reply

    Don’t give them citations. Have them go out and pick up rubbish along our highways and roads. Or, have them clean up our Public Restrooms.

  6. hooboy April 25, 2019 7:57 pm Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.