Businesses deal with longtime problem of Nimitz Highway homeless encampment

Local News

While the homeless situation in Kakaako is getting much attention, there is a business off Nimitz Highway that’s faced the problem for years.

A paintball company said homeless people have been squatting on their property for some time.

Because of the situation, business has been hurting, but the Tactical Air Gun Games owner Lance Nonaka said he’s tried everything to fix the issue without much success.

“There’s been fights,” Nonaka said. “Our players have been threatened, they throw rocks at our players.”

The homeless encampment has always been an issue for Nonaka, but in February, he noticed something new — a structure with windows.

“We told him to vacate. He didn’t. We noticed it. Now, he’s got a roof.”

KHON2 noticed more than just this structure. There are dozens of tents, and on the other side of the property are more structures. Some of the homeless have built rafts to take them across the stream.

Nonaka said “they’ll toss their trash here, they’ll use our Porta Potty. We pay for all of that. When we secure it, they’ll use our staging area as a toilet.

“We’ve talked to DLNR (Dept. of Land and Natural Resources), who we lease from. They’ve referred us to HPD, who will refer us to the Sheriff’s department. Then they’ll refer us back to DLNR.”

KHON2 reached out to the DLNR, and a spokeswoman says it’s the responsibility of the tenant to maintain the land in a sanitary and orderly condition.

In talking with City Council member Joey Manahan, he said “we hardly touch upon this area in our discussions when we discuss encampments. We usually talk about Kakaako, Kapalama, the ones most visible. But we have many of these encampments where there’s hundreds of people who’ve been here for quite a long time, and it’s my understanding that these are the most difficult cases we have of homelessness where folks are the most difficult to get into shelters.”

Manahan said he’s looking into possible areas in Iwilei to convert to homeless facilities. “I’m hoping this is one of the things the governor’s leadership team on homelessness will address.”

Tactical Air Gun Games isn’t the only business in the area affected by the homeless encampment. An employee at a kitchen and bath remodeling service close by said they’ve had power tools and materials stolen from their property in the past.

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