Hawaii and Santa Cruz–Cruelty and Cosmetic Cover

NORSE’S NOTES:  The sweeps and subsequent “Homelessness Emergency” declared by officials in Hawaii remind us of similar “crush and conceal” tactics used by Santa Cruz City authorities here.  After closing the main emergency food, laundry, bathroom, and day homeless services in town (which even before closing served only a fraction), SCPD and Rangers have stepped up “enforcement” of “Don’t Sleep at Night if You’re Homeless” ordinances including park closing laws, camping bans, and other abuses criminalizing the status of homelessness here.

The Santa Cruz Freedom Sleepers’ Sleepout #15 in front of City Hall tonight drew 30 or more folks and at least half that many overnight sleepers, braving cold sidewalks, fines, police harassment, and the threat of glaring klieg lights shining down from 3 high-intensity platforms (though the lights uncharacteristically hadn’t been turned on by midnight nor had the police arrived for their customary “disperse and disparage” sweeps of previous Tuesday nights.

Second-hand reports claimed that 6 police vehicles were sweeping Harvey West Park, while two nights before 17 citations were reportedly issued at the Red Church downtown—as homeless folks scrambled to find safe refuge somewhere from the City’s relentless gentrification efforts to run the poor out of town.

As cosmetic coating, the Santa Cruz City Council is reportedly preparing the usual scaled down Winter Armory Shelter for 100 homeless people and perhaps a reopening of the Paul Lee loft—serving less than 10% of the homeless community.  Meanwhile no let-up in the citations and harassment of homeless “sleep criminals” is in the offing—in spite of major changes in more conservative cities like Anaheim, Huntington Beach, and Santa Ana.  ‘With one hand, Santa Cruz officials continue the beatings, with the other they reassure the public with the holiday season “generosity”.  Bitter bullshit, but nothing new.

City completes latest sweep of homeless in Kaka’ako

UPDATED 7:14 PM HST Oct 09, 2015

HONOLULU —From tents to bicycles, most of what once littered the sidewalks of Kaka’ako Makai was removed by the City as it conducted its final phase of sweeps in the homeless encampment.
Dump trucks were filled to the brim as the city cleaned the sidewalks of Kaka’ako Makai. Not counting Friday’s totals, crews have filled seven bins of stored items, 29 shopping carts and 26 tons of trash over the last month. “I believe we’re going to establish a record for our removal actions,” said City Facility Maintenance Director Ross Sasamura.
Not lost among the chaos, dozens of volunteers passed out lunches or moved boxes. Students from the nearby medical school say they’ve come to know these folks like neighbors.
“We’re here all the time. My friends play with their kids and their dogs. I don’t think that them living here permanently is a solution in any way, but I don’t think the way they’re treated now is right either,” said University of Hawaii medical school student Megan Sumiga.
Just as they did Thursday morning, the city provided buses to shuttle folks from Kaka’ako to shelters. However, city officials did say that among the 100 families they moved Thursday morning only eight took advantage of the service.
“We actually checked capacity before we began enforcement yesterday to make sure there is enough space for everybody,” said Sasamura.
Despite the city’s efforts to break up the state’s largest homeless encampment, those who call Kaka’ako home say the effects are temporarily cosmetic.
“Is it reasonable to think that most of these families will be coming back here? Oh yeah. It’s a given,” said Tabitha Martin, who is homeless.
The city says when the sweeps are complete, they’ll continue enforcement maintenance where crews will frequent the cleared areas to remove garbage and clear out anyone living on the sidewalk.
Scott Morishige, Gov. David Ige’s coordinator on homelessness, announced Friday that a total of 48 people who had been living in Kaka’ako (including eight families, three couples and five singles) have moved into shelter in the past week. Individuals and families were primarily placed at the Institute for Human Services, Next Step Shelter and the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter.
“By working together, we have made a positive difference in the lives of these individuals and families. This would not have been possible without close coordination between homeless outreach providers, shelters, the state and the City and County of Honolulu,” Morishige said.
Since Aug. 7, state-contracted outreach providers have offered shelter and permanent housing resources to individuals and families in the Kaka’ako Makai area. A total of 152 people (including 23 families) have been placed into shelter or permanent housing.
“In our 37 years of delivering homeless services, we have not seen a more coordinated, organized and well-executed outreach campaign take place in Hawaii,” said Clinical Director for The Institute for Human Services Jerry Coffee. “We would like to congratulate the State’s Homeless Coordinator, Scott Morishige, and the Governor’s leadership team on homelessness for their successful effort in addressing one of our country’s largest homeless encampments. Their leadership brought homeless providers together to share resources and provide various services to addressing the individual needs of many people throughout Kakaako. We also acknowledge our government leaders who worked closely with service providers to ensure adequate shelter space and housing resources were available throughout each enforcement phase.”
Coffee says in two months, IHS staff moved 18 families (44 individuals) and 32 single individuals from shelter into housing. This allowed 73 additional individuals from Kaka’ako to seek safe shelter and housing during this time period for themselves and their children.
• 10 families (15 adults and 24 children) and 23 single adults into shelter.
• 3 families (6 adults and 5 children) placed directly into housing.
“We will continue working with each client to ensure housing and self-sufficiency becomes their end goal. And we look forward to continued progress as we develop new coordinated strategies and approaches to addressing other homeless encampments throughout Hawaii,” said Coffee.

 

 

Economy

After Destroying Homeless Camps, Hawaii Declares State Of Emergency On Homelessness

by Bryce Covert Oct 19, 2015 10:01am

On Friday, Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed an emergency proclamation on the state of its homeless population.

The proclamation will speed up construction of a temporary homeless shelter, extend existing contracts for homeless services, and increase funding for housing first programs that aim to move people into a home and then address any other issues they may have. It comes with more than $1.3 million in funding for services and permanent housing.

“It is still a state of emergency when you consider there are thousands of people in our community who continue to be homeless,” Ige said at a news conference. There were nearly 5,000 homeless people in a state of 1.4 million at latest count, just under 2,000 of them unsheltered.

The state has come under scrutiny, however, for often dealing with its burgeoning homeless population by simply cracking down on those who are on the streets or clearing them out. In a press release announcing the state of emergency, Ige cited enforcement in the Kaka’ako Makai area, near Honolulu, and said, “We plan to replicate the Kaka’ako model as we work to address homelessness in communities across the state.” But that city has repeatedly raided its homeless camps, forcing people out and throwing out their belongings.

The American Civil Liberties Union had sued the city in an attempt to stop the sweeps, arguing that by seizing and destroying property, the city is violating homeless people’s due process rights. But a judge denied its request for a temporary restraining order, and the actions had moved forward.

While buses were offered to bring people to shelters, most did not take that option and simply moved elsewhere. The city says, however, that it has moved 152 people into shelters or permanent housing since August.

Many other places across the country have responded to increases in their homeless populations through similar tactics that simply criminalize them. But such efforts have been found to be costly without actually solving the root problem. Housing the homeless, on the other hand, comes with significant savings.

States of emergency were recently announced in two other places facing large homeless populations: Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. In both of those cities, the declarations mean increased funding for housing subsidies and shelters as well as easing the way for building more affordable housing. Neither will focus on cracking down on the homeless.

 

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE: Governor Ige signs emergency proclamation to address homelessness statewide

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige today signed an emergency proclamation that enables the state to quickly funnel money toward the facilitation of: (1) rapid construction of a temporary shelter for homeless families; (2) the immediate extension of existing contracts for homeless services; and (3) an immediate increase in funding for programs that promote immediate housing.
State funds of more than $1.3 million were identified this month, paving the way for the emergency proclamation. The monies will serve an additional 1000 homeless individuals between now and July 31, 2016, providing increased funding for homeless services and programs that promote permanent housing for families and the chronically homeless.
The emergency proclamation will also facilitate the construction of a transitional housing facility for homeless families. The facility will be temporary and have a clear sunset date.
The state, city, federal governments and various service providers have worked together to place 158 individuals and 25 families from Kaka‘ako into shelters since the effort began in early August. That’s 54 percent of homeless individuals surveyed in Kaka‘ako in early August and more than 80 percent of the families surveyed.
“The lesson learned is that great things can be accomplished when we all work together. Despite the recent success of enforcement efforts in the Kaka’ako Makai area, homelessness remains a serious issue in every county throughout the state. We plan to replicate the Kaka’ako model as we work to address homelessness in communities across the state,” said Gov. David Ige.
“There’s still much work to do. Hawai‘i has the highest rate of homelessness per capita among the 50 states, with an estimated 465 homeless individuals per 100,000. The alarming increase in unsheltered individuals and families over the past two years is particularly significant on O‘ahu. This proclamation will expedite the state’s plans to help these individuals and families to more quickly transition to permanent housing,” said Scott Morishige, Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness.

 

Governor issues emergency proclamation to address homeless crisis

Posted: Oct 16, 2015 2:22 PM PST Updated: Oct 16, 2015 3:05 PM PST

By HNN Staff

Video at http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/30282619/governor-issues-emergency-proclamation-to-address-homeless-situation

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE: Governor Ige signs emergency proclamation to address homelessness statewide

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige today signed an emergency proclamation that enables the state to quickly funnel money toward the facilitation of: (1) rapid construction of a temporary shelter for homeless families; (2) the immediate extension of existing contracts for homeless services; and (3) an immediate increase in funding for programs that promote immediate housing.
State funds of more than $1.3 million were identified this month, paving the way for the emergency proclamation. The monies will serve an additional 1000 homeless individuals between now and July 31, 2016, providing increased funding for homeless services and programs that promote permanent housing for families and the chronically homeless.
The emergency proclamation will also facilitate the construction of a transitional housing facility for homeless families. The facility will be temporary and have a clear sunset date.
The state, city, federal governments and various service providers have worked together to place 158 individuals and 25 families from Kaka‘ako into shelters since the effort began in early August. That’s 54 percent of homeless individuals surveyed in Kaka‘ako in early August and more than 80 percent of the families surveyed.
“The lesson learned is that great things can be accomplished when we all work together. Despite the recent success of enforcement efforts in the Kaka’ako Makai area, homelessness remains a serious issue in every county throughout the state. We plan to replicate the Kaka’ako model as we work to address homelessness in communities across the state,” said Gov. David Ige.
“There’s still much work to do. Hawai‘i has the highest rate of homelessness per capita among the 50 states, with an estimated 465 homeless individuals per 100,000. The alarming increase in unsheltered individuals and families over the past two years is particularly significant on O‘ahu. This proclamation will expedite the state’s plans to help these individuals and families to more quickly transition to permanent housing,” said Scott Morishige, Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness.

 

SEE ALSO http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/bessd/files/2012/12/PIT-Oahu-2015-PIT-Report-Rev-4.18.15.pdf  for City and County of Honolulu Homeless Point-in-Time Count 2015

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