Outreach at ‘Anini; community faces ouster

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Ceci Lindsey and Keala McCarthey discuss their housing needs with a Women In Need counselor, Monday during the houseless outreach program at the Anini Beach Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Ceci Lindsey and Keala McArthey fill out applications for housing at the Women In Need table, Monday during the houseless outreach program at Anini Beach Park.

  • Dennis Fuimoto/The Garden Island

    Matt Fons talks with the Malama Health Services crew of Bianka Tasaka, Melody McFarland, Charles Roessler, and Ramon Meraz at the Malama Mobile van, Monday during the houseless outreach program at Anini Beach Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Matt Fons stops to chat with Sharon Graham and Ashton Varner during Graham and Varner’s walk to call people to the houseless outreach program, Monday at the Anini Beach Park.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    June Munos of Ho‘ola Lahui chats with an Anini Beach Park tenant and his child, Monday during the houseless outreach program.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Trink Martin of the Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity looks for Aunty Sunee at the Anini Park resident’s encampment, Monday during the houseless outreach program

‘ANINI — Thinking about where to go once the ‘Anini Beach Park closes to the houseless community in less than a month has been stressful for Ceci Lindsey.

Lindsey, carrying her two-year-old son on her hip, stopped by the Women In Need tent to fill out a housing application during the county’s first outreach event as the transition to close the camp begins.

For the last year, the county has designated five county beach parks — ‘Anini, Anahola, Lydgate, Salt Pond and Lucy Wright — as “shelter-in-place” zones providing the houseless community a place to set up a campsite with access to running water, bathrooms, showers and social services. Through a monthly permit system, beach camps were meant as a way to control a vulnerable population.

County officials last month pointed to low case counts and a robust vaccine distribution as a sign of recovery, and a good time to transition out of the shelter in place program. As of yesterday, the county has given out over 27,000 dosages and is in the process of offering vaccines to all houseless residents.

Enduring the wind that knocked tents down and sporadic rain, Malama Pono Health Services, Women In Need, Project Vision, and Ho‘ola Lahui, among others, set up at ‘Anini Monday morning, offering medical, housing and social services.

June Munoz of Ho‘ola Lahui spoke with residents Monday morning.

“You have to be a little more compassionate with where people are going to go,” Munoz said.

Lindsey has been houseless for about two years, she said, but she has family that helps out.

“The process (to find housing) takes a while,” Lindsey said. “I wish they would leave (the beach camp) until we were able to get into housing.”

Lindsey came to the county’s outreach alongside another ‘Anini resident, Keala McCarthy.

“It’s sad, a lot of people here used to have jobs,” McCarthy said, noting that her wife was laid off as a housekeeper.

Both ‘Anini and Anahola beach parks will close at the end of the month, on March 31. Combined between these two parks, as of the end of February, there were 75 permitted campers, including 10 keiki.

Campers will be allowed to apply for permits at other beach parks, as capacity allows. The next beach to close will be Lucy Wright Beach Park at the end of April. Camping permits at Lydgate will end May 31, and June 30 at Salt Pond.

The county first announced the closure of campgrounds last month and will begin maintenance on the facilities, including painting, sanitization and landscaping. With the closure of ‘Anini first, some residents voiced frustration.

“I don’t need toothpaste,” said Auntie Sunee, who has lived at the beach camp since June, “I need affordable housing.”

  1. I saw a Vampire once March 9, 2021 12:24 am Reply

    Wow. They are sure having it hard. These are the homeless people. And they are signing up for shelter at one of the mentioned sites. Must be hard on them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are on the internet. Are being briefed on COVID-19 rules, if or when they travel into the community and mingle with the other locals? I suppose these people are people who couldn’t find regular housing. And assuming they are on food stamps. Do they have TVs at some of the sites?

  2. Major Lee Hung March 9, 2021 2:54 am Reply

    Funny how most people are able to find housing even if it means having as many as 3 jobs.
    If you truly can’t find affordable housing maybe you should move to an area you can afford.

  3. Nalu March 9, 2021 8:15 am Reply

    So I can get a vaccine faster if I am houseless?

    1. CommonSenseish March 9, 2021 2:53 pm Reply

      You’d probably make more money being houseless too.

    2. A Shole March 9, 2021 3:17 pm Reply

      Sure, give me your house and go live at the beach and ill get you the vaccine.
      put your money where your mouth is.

  4. kimo Edwards March 9, 2021 8:26 am Reply

    Mr. Mayor, we have remained patient, but we want our parks back. Auntie Sunee is right, they don’t need more toothpaste. Millions of federal dollars later, we are reopening, and you have no plan in place to turn these people out on our island? It is not fair to them, it is not fair to us, and it is an embarrassment to our beautiful island. Do your job. Fix this.
    PS… 21 more rules that you do not enforce won’t do it.

    1. Yea you March 9, 2021 9:52 am Reply

      Well said.

    2. Makani B. Howard March 9, 2021 10:28 am Reply

      I agree, Kimo. These people need help, they need jobs. You can’t just give them tiny homes and have them sit around all day with nothing to do. Help them to help themselves. Teach them some skills. Skills that will last a lifetime.

      1. nobody March 10, 2021 5:00 am Reply

        Lots of people who used to work choose not to considering the UI benefits + $300-600 per week bonus. Employers tell me they can’t find workers.

        As has been said many times before, many of the houseless have mental health issues and really don’t want to, or are able, to work.

  5. ^^^^ Braddah Kimo got a point Mayor... these fed funds going where?? March 9, 2021 10:09 am Reply

    …. lost in inefficient bureaucracy. Done missed too many chances to help the community on this island… just more status quo and wasting resources on a mish mash of projects to contractor buddies… how much time/ energy on these resort bubbles?! … we could use some actual progressive vision on this garden island…. seen traffic lately?! Just add tourists to that now… what is the city council doing!? Joy riding… send more tooth paste..

  6. CommonSenseish March 9, 2021 2:51 pm Reply

    Cleaning Jobs available… Check Craigslist… just sayin. Idk. I’d have compassion but my encounter with the homeless has not been so positive. To live on a beach with a 2 year old, how does that make you feel like a good parent? I would ( and DO) do everything I can to keep a roof over our head. I have adapted, I’ve worked as a house / rental cleaner, restaurant worker, sales, office secretary, bar back. Whatever it takes. Craigslist.com has a HUGE selection of Job Openings. But you can’t sit on your butt and expect them to come to you. Get out, and be active about it. Get a good resume put together and take some pride in yourself as a human being.

  7. Marie March 9, 2021 3:54 pm Reply

    I do really want our beaches and campsites back. This was a temporary measure, not meant to be permanent.

  8. Makali'i March 9, 2021 7:27 pm Reply

    Zuckerburg is a Donkey

  9. nobody March 10, 2021 5:03 am Reply

    Money doesn’t talk, it screams.

  10. Wise1 March 11, 2021 3:57 pm Reply

    What they need to do is give them farm land, organize them into communican farm, with shared farming equipment and let the grow food and also make money that way. It will keep food prices down.

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