An end to houseless beach park camping

LIHU‘E — Beginning next month, the county will be suspending its “Shelter in Place” program that had issued permits to houseless individuals and families to live at county-owned beach parks.

On March 4, 2020, Mayor Derek Kawakami signed into effect an emergency rule that established five beach encampments at county campgrounds, including Lucy Wright Park, Salt Pond Beach Park, Anahola Beach Park, ‘Anini Beach Park and Lydgate Park.

That first month, 254 camping permits were issued across the parks, and the number of permits remained fairly steady across the past nine months. In February, that number was 233, and at its peak in July, 275 permits were issued.

“We’ve always said that our Shelter in Place program would be temporary,” Kawakami said. “It was established at the start of our COVID-19 emergency response in spring 2020, when we closed recreational camping to avoid large gatherings and wide community spread of the disease.”

The mayor’s rule also closed all other county campgrounds and canceled previously-issued permits through the end of the year.

The program, Kawakami said, gave stability to the houseless community during an uncertain time.

“It also allowed our existing houseless population a safe place to stay while we navigated through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” Kawakami said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the unsheltered, houseless population is at risk for community spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends overflow shelters, isolation and quarantine campsites and sufficient signage about the virus.

Now, Kawakami is pointing to a steady vaccine effort and “consistently low” case counts as a sign of recovery.

“To date, we have administered over 19,000 vaccines, and our businesses and activities remain operating at Tier 4 — our least restrictive tier,” Kawakami noted.

By the first camp closure date, March 31 for both ‘Anini and Anahola beach parks, the county is hoping to have offered all houseless residents the vaccine through joint efforts by the state Department of Health, Ho‘ola Lahui and Malama Pono Health Services, county Managing Director Michael Dahilig said.

Camping permits at Lucy Wright will end April 30, May 31 at Lydgate, and June 30 at Salt Pond.

“We decided to try and spread out closures geographically in phases, closing campgrounds for one side of the island then moving to the other side of the island: Anahola/‘Anini (north/northeast), then Lucy Wright (west), then Lydgate (east) and finally Salt Pond (west),” said Patrick Porter, director of the county Department of Parks and Recreation.

About a month after each closure, the county will reopen that park to recreational camping for the general public. Permit applications are not being accepted at this time, according to the county.

The month-long closure between houseless living quarters and recreational use will be used for site cleanup, maintenance and facility repairs that are to be determined, Porter said.

“We anticipate major ground-clearing, painting, potential plumbing and fixture replacements,” Porter said.

Those living at the camps have been notified by park rangers verbally and through written notices, Porter said.

“The notifications will be hand-delivered by park rangers as well as included as part of the campers’ monthly permit renewals in the beginning of March, April, May and June,” Porter said.

Porter said his department and the County Housing Agency will be providing assistance throughout the transition period with social-services agencies.

Throughout 2020, the CHA hosted houseless outreach events across the island including the beach parks, providing essential services like flu shots, vision screenings, hygiene products and food, and helping to sign up for housing and bus-pass programs, CHA Director Adam Roversi said.

“Each day of the week, local nonprofits conduct outreach to the beach parks and beyond in various capacities, including Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity, Family Life Center and Ho‘ola Lahui,” Roversi said.

As the closures eek closer, Roversi said the agency’s houseless coordinator is scheduling “concentrated outreach events” at the encampments.

“Specific dates for these outreach efforts will be announced as they are finalized,” Roversi said. “These events will specifically focus on connecting homeless individuals and families with programs related to housing and social services.”

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, the Kaua‘i County Council’s Parks and Recreation/Transportation Committee will be briefed on the status of the camping-permit program.

•••

Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

26 Comments
  1. Major Lee Hung February 19, 2021 2:04 am Reply

    Closed camping to avoid large gatherings? Lydgate is packed. They have trashed the park and the beach.


  2. USAF Brat February 19, 2021 6:19 am Reply

    Excellent maneuver, more manipulations unaddressed for decades, and these collusional, corrupt, criminal, retroactive “pointy-fingered, Kingpin Kollar-kealoha-FBI (Kenji resignation), shatz fedwreckian ploy, haole mongrels and mob leaders, now wanting to stoke a civil war! Bring it on! Make sure get F22 Raptor parked next to Zuckerbergs jet and PMRF, because we fight for our lives if necessary, due to the options available only for the privileged! Kukai lunacy, they take all and give nada damn thing! It didnt have to be this way, had voters been “paying attention” and one who had a 48-year Kauai career medical professional-entrepreneur, working the normal flu virus season as your mayor! All that is currently, are (B)leaders that will be hacked-kakked from the slithering snakes hierarchy! At the least, Slithering has been evidenced for 128-years, cept now they at the “bottom of the barrel” dragging WE the people across the sharp reef. Der-ika and his “partners” wanting ALL of us to “cut bait” and await the P.A. Kollar Kingpin to take residence at the adolescent treatment center, and KPD chief transplant riding his mountain bike while imposing cruiser lights on, Popo laughing, not following orders, and then cruisers characterized as faulty mechanics, or how about that casino in Dannerhola along with hui o fedwreckian that need to move to cali first.


  3. Enough Already February 19, 2021 6:26 am Reply

    Cases are low so the houseless have to go? How about a plan to economic recovery? A return to safe travels to create jobs for those who haven’t worked in a year needs to happen before kicking these people out of their camps.

    The mayor said yesterday that unemployment has been going smoothly, shame on him for being so out of touch. These people need help and work, not to be kicked out to make these spaces more attractive for Kauai’s new permanent tourists.


  4. nobody February 19, 2021 6:57 am Reply

    We are witnessing a complete failure of our government to insure that it’s people have affordable housing. Your kids are next.


    1. Unbalanced February 20, 2021 9:47 am Reply

      The county of Kauai should invest time in contacting coalition for the homeless org to help Kauai’s plantation mentality of pee brain unthinking.


  5. On par February 19, 2021 6:59 am Reply

    Where do you expect these homeless family’s to go? I know people who can afford to pay rent and have been working and still can’t find a place to rent. Heartless fake mayor.


  6. kimo Edwards February 19, 2021 8:03 am Reply

    I hope there is a plan. Lydgate campground for the last year has been a dangerous mess. The thought of turning that loose on the island without a plan is frightening. The Mayor has stated he wants to attract a higher level of tourism that will spend more money. If they come in search of paradise and are greeted by an island of vagrants, they will not come back. Please Mr. Mayor, demonstrate the long-term vision that we voted for and address the embarrassing rampant vagrancy that has overtaken our once beautiful island.


  7. concerned February 19, 2021 8:58 am Reply

    Where will these families and house-less people go?
    Right now more then ever rentals/house sales are being occupied by mainland visitors moving here to get away from areas where COVID cases are high and they have the financial means to just escape to Kauai to live while working remotely. They have the high paying jobs and can afford to pay the extremely high rents while the residents out of work cannot.
    So now we have a wave of newbies here occupying these spaces while local families live on the beaches. And supposedly this was a privilege during the pandemic crisis and now what?
    Give them a notice that time is up and then what?


    1. Rev Dr Malama February 20, 2021 1:10 pm Reply

      Concerned, yes I am too! Most of the single male houseless campers will just jump the invisible line onto State and Federal properties as they have for generations so the various agencies will be passing the buck on who is responsible for law enforcement…..
      Unfortunately the families living in cars are going to be most stressed out and harrassed for being homeless….. after the fake SOVEREIGNTY movement guys have convinced the campers that they have won the battle to live on “stolen” land reality is about to set in.
      There are literally thousands of people who are camped out in coastal areas along with the wetlands and hard to reach jungle areas….. the county has failed!
      The remedies are in this website, videos and educational programs for those who care…..
      HAWAIIANKINGDOM.ORG


  8. kauaiboy February 19, 2021 9:03 am Reply

    Ms. Sabrina Bodon (who wrote this article):

    Please re-read through this article to see if you come up with some of the same questions I have:

    1. An average of 250 camping permits have been issued per month. Are you referring to camping permits or to “Shelter in Place” permits?

    2. Is anyone from the County checking to see if beach park “residents” actually have permits?

    3. How many people/tents/structures can each permit accommodate?

    4. What is the number of PEOPLE currently using County beach parks as their residence?

    5. Could the actual number of people/permits be greater than the stated numbers because many beach park “residents” are without permits?

    6. Where is the County expecting all these people to relocate to?

    7. Has TGI interviewed any of the myriad of houseless residents who are residing at the beach parks to ask what they think of the County’s plan to shut down their established place of residence?

    8. Will the houseless leave the beach parks voluntarily at the deadline date or will they resist?

    9. Can an Anini or Anahola Beach Park resident who is evicted on March 31 relocate to Salt Pond and reside there until June 30?

    10. Is there a limit to the number of houseless which each beach park can accommodate?

    Do your job as a reporter and investigate the situation and report on it fully. Is that too much for your readership to ask? Or are you being constrained by the publisher or the government as to what you may report, and what you may not?

    Mahalo.


    1. Rev Dr Malama February 20, 2021 1:15 pm Reply

      Wow, good questions! This is not going to look pretty as the real situation gets better media coverage!!!!


    2. Haliaka March 1, 2021 8:31 pm Reply

      Yes… a critical question … will they ALL be piling into Salt Pond park since thats the last one? I think logically we need to be prepared for that.


  9. Bob February 19, 2021 9:31 am Reply

    That is all good and well , but where are these folks going to go when no longer allowed these permits ?


    1. Khsgrad February 20, 2021 1:05 am Reply

      Think Kaaka’ako- soon they will set up camp on a sidewalk in front of your house and there’s nothing you can do about it…… So thankful I am selling my home; Kealiampoint is another sickening example of Kauai’s failed policies


  10. Joe Public February 19, 2021 10:01 am Reply

    Finally we all will be able to utilize the recreation areas/parks


    1. Khsgrad February 20, 2021 1:07 am Reply

      There is not enough disinfectant in the island to clean up the filth the homeless leave behind


  11. CommonSenseish February 19, 2021 11:15 am Reply

    Agh, a good chuckle. Not that I support homeless camps and what they do to an area, but where does Kawakami expect all these people to go? Does he think they just POOFED and found a rental? Comical. I guess they will be moving back to Rice Street. It might not be related… but NOT seeing homeless people all over town has actually been nice.


  12. Numilalocal February 19, 2021 3:37 pm Reply

    It’s frustrating that the taxpayers will have to pay to repair the damage that these people have apparently caused. Not all homeless people are irresponsible but enough are unable to manage their lives and the rest of us have to pick up the pieces.


    1. Khsgrad February 20, 2021 1:09 am Reply

      Take a look at Kealia point, 14 crack and anywhere else they set up a “house” have to say that is the definition of irresponsible, all the while claiming “ care of the Aina” what a crock!


  13. BerniO February 20, 2021 12:03 am Reply

    These are people … with hearts and souls …. no money to rent … what is the plan to give them support? What is the transition plan?


  14. james February 20, 2021 7:17 am Reply

    The hard, cold truth is that Kauai is expensive. Housing is expensive. Not everyone who wants to live or stay on Kauai can afford to do so. The same can be said for many other high-priced areas of our country. The government can only do so much. People need to accept personal responsibility for their lives. If moving to somewhere that you can afford is your best option, then that may have to be your choice in life until you can afford to live here. Sad but keeping it real as the saying goes.


  15. Sheeples February 20, 2021 9:17 am Reply

    Try to look past immediate problems of homelessness and focus on the structural societal changes needed to make the world a better place for everyone. In the richest country in the history of the world there is more than enough to go around. Would you rather have to step through human excrement and refuse or support a sustainably built homeless camp with facilities and a jobs program? Most people who are homeless come from dysfunctional households and are escaping through drugs and have become unwell. The neoliberal con of hawaii is that individuals are solely responsible for their situations, when in reality the system is much more at fault. Legacy politicians and union mob bosses siphon off everything for friends and family, then tuck away in air conditioned offices and wealthy estates. They are in turn controlled by higher ups in industry and tech, each rung up grabbing the larger piece from those below. The systems only work for those near the top of the pyramid. This is all by design. As soon as the majority of the proletariat realizes this it can be dismantled. It may be too late for the USA at large but things could still be nice here if more people understood this and stopped being so judgmental of those one rung down from them.


  16. Haleiwa Steve February 20, 2021 9:27 am Reply

    Homelessness on this level is a disgrace. Where does the Mayor expect these people to go?


    1. I saw a Vampire once February 20, 2021 2:04 pm Reply

      We can start by making it mandatory that all residents of Kauai be appropriately dressed while in public. No dirty clothes. Then make it a goal on Kaua’i, only the rich or money oriented people may live here. And go ahead with city ordinances to implement this law. Then go with everything. Economics. 10 years plan.


  17. No Get Nutz February 20, 2021 1:01 pm Reply

    To kimo Edwards.
    Wow for a guy named kimo you sure don’t have a kimo attitude.
    And to use that scare tactic of tourists not coming back
    Tourists will never stop coming here whether we like it or not they will never stop coming.
    Remember as soon as the gates were open tourists were already flooding in less than 2 days after.
    So stop using that scare tactic it’s not working and it’s annoying.
    And if you don’t like looking at the houseless go back where you came from
    You obvious transplant with a fake name


  18. Littlepric1 February 20, 2021 3:25 pm Reply

    I say Screw sending Tat money for the rail until we have this homeless problem taken care of ..Priorities First.


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