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Honolulu law tightens reins on homeless community

Updated: 
August 23, 2017 - 9:33pm

HONOLULU — Honolulu has expanded its list of areas where people cannot sit or lie down in an effort to further contain the island’s homeless population.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill on Monday expanding the city’s “sit-lie” law to Pacific Street in the community of Iwilei and several areas from Victoria to McCully streets, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. The law is part of Honolulu’s overall strategy that includes sweeping homeless encampments until the occupants seek services and legal housing.

“We have a very vigorous compassionate disruption program going on for the past four or so years, and I think it’s made a difference both in how our community looks and also allows people to move down our sidewalks and in our parks much more freely,” Caldwell said. “But I also believe it’s resulted in more people seeking shelter and in our housing.”

Homeless people on Pacific Street will be given warnings for two weeks before officers enforce the newest sit-lie bans, Honolulu police Capt. Stephen Silva said.

Pacific Street runs behind the Iwilei Lowe’s store and in front of City Mill. About a dozen homeless people watched Caldwell’s bill signing from their encampment on Pacific Street.

“I’ve been on the street over 10 years,” Lani Reiger, 48, said. “Where can we go?”

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