Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Monday a bill that expands Honolulu’s sit-lie law to include two more streets where homeless are camping.
Bill 66 adds Pacific Street in Iwilei and Victoria Street, which runs past Thomas Square, to the list of areas where people are prohibited from sitting or lying on public sidewalks.
The signing took place at the intersection of Pacific Street and Iwilei Road, where Caldwell says “there’s a lot of business and commercial activity along here. Trucks go by, a lot of successful businesses, and so it’s going to help tremendously.”
Honolulu’s sit-lie ban first went into effect in 2014, and the city has been adding more areas to the law ever since.
Caldwell says it is making a difference in getting more homeless off the streets and creating “a better community for everyone.”
“The fact that over the past couple years, our homeless point in time count has diminished. While we haven’t turned the corner yet, the growth has slowed down and I think it’s because of these efforts we’ve been undertaking,” he said.
The Honolulu Police Department will now educate people about the additional sit-lie zones, while the city Department of Facility Maintenance enforces the law with its sidewalk nuisance ordinance and stored property ordinance teams.
“It’s important to undergird that what frames his efforts and the efforts of our city with the support of the City Council and council members (Joey) Manahan and (Ann) Kobayashi for example, is a humanitarian desire, a desire to really help those who are in need,” said Marc Alexander, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing. “This kind of enforcement, expansion of sit and lie really is another tool in a very complicated tool chest, but it’s all focused on helping people, whether it’s our community, whether it’s the most vulnerable, and making sure we use our scarce resources in the most efficient way possible.”
The city recently established a partnership with the U.S. Navy, state, and non-profit providers to clear homeless encampments at Neal S. Blaisdell Park and along the Pearl Harbor Bike Path.
Alexander says through that effort, officials were able to get 43 people into shelters.
Of the 43 individuals, the city says one was admitted to the Institute for Human Services’ women’s shelter, 33 were admitted to the Waianae Civic Center run by US Vets, and the remainder were housed by family and friends.
The majority of people living along the bike path were single individuals.