Bill aims to tighten access at public housing properties

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It’s a problem that’s happening at public housing properties across the island: people entering onto property who don’t belong there.

“What we have found over the years are is there’s people that come onto the public housing campus and the Hawaii Housing Public Authority does not have necessarily the ability to have them moved or asked to leave because it’s still considered a public property,” said Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, Human Services and Housing Committee Chairperson.

But two bills at the state legislature hope to change that. “So the bill that we have, that is both in the House and the Senate, would basically give that authority to Hawaii Public Housing Authority to ask people to leave if they are not guests or residents of that property,” said Sen. Chun Oakland. “Currently, if someone comes on the campus and say they’re drinking or they want to pick a fight with a resident living in the public housing property, that has happened often. So I think for the safety of the residents, and even for their guests, we want to make sure that if there’s a problem, that the Hawaii Public Housing Authority has the ability to ask them to leave.”

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority released this statement:

“The security and safety of all our public housing residents and properties is of utmost importance. At [Kalihi Valley Homes] there is twenty-four hour security at the vehicle entrance and roving patrols on site, and the property is partially fenced. However, like any other landowner, even with heightened security measures, we cannot prevent every incident that may occur on our properties. We are always considering ways to improve security at our properties, for example, our current push for a bill at the legislature to entirely close our public housing properties to the public to only allow those who have authorization to be on site.”

Residents and guests we spoke to say there are times when things get out of hand.

“The noise, basically. They could just be walking around and we got people trying to sleep, kids who have to go to school the next day. They’re just causing all this kind of ruckus for no reason,” said Chelsa Savea, whose family lives at Kalihi Valley Homes. “And you have these securities here trying to tell them to leave quietly, but then they’re just taking it to a whole other level to where it shouldn’t even get out of hand.”

“What would you like to see change?” asked KHON2.

“I would like this bill to pass so none of them can come on the property and cause trouble,” said Amber Savea, a resident at Kalihi Valley Homes.More information:

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