HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu City Councilmembers are urging the City administration to expand the sit-lie law for all City sidewalks near schools after complaints in various districts.
“Some of the stories I’m hearing is that keiki are witnessing inappropriate things around the school or even near their classrooms so it does concern me,” said Val Okimoto, Honolulu City Council Public Safety Committee Chair.
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“We’ve had complaints of homeless coming onto campus defecating and using the water,” said Augie Tulba, Honolulu City Councilmember.
Councilmember Tulba said although the Department of Education is a state entity, it’s on board with the City Council’s resolution in hopes to keep students and teachers safe.
Corporation Counsel said, the current sit-lie law is designed for specific zones like Waikiki and Chinatown and geared towards businesses not schools. The law allows Honolulu police to warn and cite individuals.
“Officers have to give a verbal warning, citation and finally arrest and all of this has to be done in the eight hour period with that officer, which they have been doing,” said Cpl. Kadoi of the Honolulu Police Department.
The Honolulu Department of Facility Maintenance does conduct sweeps, but it said manpower is an issue. The City Council added, the goal isn’t to criminalize houselessness. City Council Chair Tommy Waters said, a look at the bigger picture of houselessness on Oahu is needed.
“Honestly everyone, by doing this we’re kicking the can down the road, because we got to build places for these people to live, get the treatment whether it be at Kekela or the Hawaii State Hospital,” said Waters.
Meanwhile, City Councilmembers are hoping a City and State partnership can help mitigate the issue for now.
“There’s supposedly a homeless plan being circulated right now, but until we see the plan I think this is warranted right now to make sure our kids going to and from school are safe,” Tulba said.
The resolution is moving out of the Public Safety Committee for adoption.