Hawaii crime-fighting community program to shut down due to lack of funding

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Weed and Seed has been committed to fighting crime and establishing positive relationships in the community for decades.

The program is being forced to shut down due to a lack of funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“It’s very hard and heartbreaking for me to be in this predicament, because we know what the need is in our community,” said Gale Braceros, executive director of Weed and Seed Hawaii.

From culinary, sports and mentoring programs, schools say it will be a loss for students without these resources.

“We have brought students back on campus that were caught doing things and we put them to work,” said Shayne Greenland, principal of Ewa Beach Elementary School. “It’s not about getting in trouble, but it’s about fixing those things and getting kids to make smarter choices and move forward. There’s no monetary value you can put on the value that it brings to a community.”

Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm says Weed and Seed works and he would hate to see it go.

“We reduce crime in Chinatown, Kailihi, and Palama by over 70 percent,” said Alm. “It’s been so good having Weed and Seed coordinators. They’re kind of the glue in the middle that holds everything together.”

The Honolulu City Council introduced a budget that would help Weed and Seed’s operations. Those funds will not be available until July, if approved.

An emergency campaign was launched in April, but the program still needs $100,000 to stay afloat.

“The grants and opportunities are great, but we do need immediate funding now to continue. So I’m just hoping that the community will do it again, for us, and to help us to sustain it by their generosity of donations,” Braceros said.

Saturday, May 15, will be its last day in operation.

What happens without the program is what has people worried.

“It absolutely will lead to more problems. There are problems right now in Chinatown, with youth gangs doing certain things and we want to put a stop to that,” Alm said.

Weed and Seed is remaining optimistic and hopes this will not be their final goodbye.

To donate to the program, click here.

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