Tents in Old Stadium Park offer temporary stay to the homeless

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Honolulu officials said tents could be part of the solution in tackling homelessness on Oahu, the Old Stadium Park is the new location for the Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons or HONU that hopes to take hundreds off the street.

Life is looking up for Frank Miller, after more than three-years homeless he recently found a place to call home.

Miller said, “I like my four walls you know I like to be in my own little place where I have my own space, you know out here, you don’t have that.”

It is now a friend who is looking for a similar outcome, they are asking about the HONU program, it could be described as a traveling tent city that offers quick housing.

Pam Witty-Oakland is the director for the Department of Community Services, she said this program allows pets and gives people out in the streets more flexibility as some shelters are closed in the evenings and weekends.

Five tents, cots, and a bathroom are taking over part of the Old Stadium Park, it’s a transitional stay for at least 90 days for those who want help to get into a shelter or housing.

Janet Uyehara lives next to the park and she said it is hard not to notice the homeless even if they have not caused her problems.

Uyehara said, “In the park and the pavilion there is homeless and I do go to the park everyday to feed the birds.”

The HONU program was first introduced at Waipahu Cultural Garden Park where officials said they saw positive results in getting people off the streets. The program was an idea from Captain Mike Lambert with the Honolulu Police Department.

“What’s going to happen at Waipahu Cultural Gardens is now that the site is no longer there the enforcement is going to continue for one month,” Lambert said. “What we want to do is ensure that the area that has been reclaimed or rehabilitated is used for public use.”

For now Miller and his puppy Princess are glad to have a home and he hopes people who are looking into HONU are truly wanting to make a change.

Miller said, “If you’re not looking to be sheltered then don’t take the seat that somebody else could be sheltered that wants it. “

The program in Waipahu Cultural Garden Park placed more than 150 people into shelters, they hope it is a similar outcome at the Old Stadium Park.

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