HUGH LLEWELLYN SIMPSON / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-BULLETIN
On the Kahului Harbor Breakwater sprawls a homeless camp. Eviction notices were issued this week to homeless people living inside the park.
Members of a Maui canoe club say the homeless are creating an unsafe environment
KAHULUI » Paddlers say they are trying to restore aloha at Hoaloha Park.
At the request of the Hawaiian Canoe Club, eviction notices were issued this week to homeless people living inside the park.
Canoe club members accuse the homeless and others of creating an unsafe environment by leaving behind drug syringes, human waste and litter on the beach. They also say the homeless have stolen from the Hawaiian Canoe Club hale.
"It's a public park, but they don't have the right to live in it," Paul Kauhane Luuwai said.
Canoe club members wanted to tear down the makeshift shelters in the naupaka bushes on Thursday, but police at the scene persuaded them to give the homeless another day to remove their belongings from the area.
"I know the Hawaiian Canoe Club people have used great diplomacy with this issue, and so have the law enforcement officials," Deputy Police Chief Kekuhaupio Akana said. "Our goal is always to find some type of resolution for unfortunate people."
Akana said he does not like to see homeless people forced to move from place to place, but in this case it is a matter of public safety.
Mike Davis, Maui County's homeless-services coordinator, said he has been to Hoaloha Park to offer assistance, but not all the homeless are receptive.
"Not all the people want a shelter. They just want to be left alone," he said.
Club leader Mahina Martin said she is sympathetic to those in need of help, but she is not to those who are without a home because of drug use.
She said the park has become unsafe.
The shoreline park, located next to the Maui Seaside Hotel, is used by fishermen, and cruise ship passengers often walk in the area.
LeRoy Gusman, a parent of one of the paddlers who turned out to help with the planned cleanup, said the group wants to treat the homeless with respect.
"We're not bad people," Gusman said. "We're doing it nicely."