OHA begins to dismantle elaborate homeless campsites in Wahiawa


An elaborate campsite on Office of Hawaiian Affairs property in Wahiawa is being taken down.

OHA tells us approximately 17 campsites were found on the property and, besides being illegal, a spokesman says they pose a health and safety hazard.

We saw structures complete with rooms, doorways, and even a tunnel that led to another bedroom, which was filled with linens and towels and plenty of other items.

There is even a sign for the restroom.

“This is really a health and safety issue for us with all of the debris here,” said OHA spokesman Garett Kamemoto.

The 511-acre property used to be former agriculture land, but has most recently been used as a campsite for homeless people.

“It’s hard to track the population but we did count, at one point, about 17 or so tents or structures,” said Kamemoto.

We are told it’s going to take a week to clean everything up. We walked around the property and saw thousands of items.

OHA says many of the tents appeared to be abandoned.

One woman who didn’t want to go on camera told us some people have living there for nearly two years. Another person said he plans to move to another location once the cleanup is done.

OHA says it came to the site with social services agencies two weeks ago, last week and during the last three days to let people know about the enforcement. Signs were also posted, letting people know when the cleanup would start.

Crews say they took approximately 4,000 pounds from the site Wednesday, all of which were structural and could not be saved.

Another spot filled with homeless in Wahiawa will be cleaned up this month — a camp under Karston Thot Bridge.

Later this month, volunteers will remove garbage from the lake and next weekend, the group Alea Bridge will be doing outreach to connect homeless people living under the bridge with resources to get them off the streets.

“We have reached out to them to give them options to what they want to do. They are just going to move to other areas within Wahiawa, but some do want housing, so we are going to get them started on applications as far as Housing First,” said Joseph Acosta.

Organizers say this isn’t an attempt to displace people living there, but they want to make sure people are aware of the help available to them.

The Wahiawa Community Based Development Organization (WCBDO) is sponsoring the community work-day to clean up the homeless encampment areas in response to community concerns. It takes place Saturday, June 25, 8 a.m.-noon. Matson Hawaii, through its Ka Ipu ‘Aina program, is providing a container and will haul away collected trash from the event.

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