JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Faustino "Uncle Jr." Soberano, who lives at Mokuleia Beach Park with his family, is one of many who are concerned about the possible removal of their vehicles from the beach park. CLICK FOR LARGE
Mokuleia homeless face removal of cars
Some vehicles belong to people living at the park who say they will now have to leave
Rosalani "Mimi" Repercio called Mokuleia Beach Park her home and those who live there her family for the past two years.
In about a week, though, she'll likely have to pack her things into her van and leave.
The city issued warnings Monday saying that it will tow away vehicles illegally parked at Mokuleia Beach Park after 7 p.m. beginning next week. Some cars work, many don't. For many of the 20 or so homeless who live there, their homes will be towed away.
"It looks like people are going to have to pick up and leave," Repercio said. "We don't want to leave. This is our home. This is where we feel safe."
There are about 20 illegally parked vehicles and four minibuses, said Les Chang, city Parks and Recreation director. People can also sign their vehicle's title over to the city, which would then tow it away and dispose of it.
Chang said they have received many complaints from the community throughout the years.
"The homeless have basically taken over," said Michael Lyons, chairman of the North Shore Neighborhood Board. "This is long overdue. The public also has the right to use the park."
This is a part of the city's plan announced on April 26 to clean and close selected beach parks nightly on the North Shore.
The city began renovating the park at Shark's Cove in Pupukea on Monday. However, it has not yet set dates to close parks that would displace homeless people because the city is waiting for the state or the community to find alternative housing for them.
"People think all we're trying to do is chase away the homeless," Chang said. "But we really are trying to make the parks better for everyone."
Most of the state's efforts are still focused on the Waianae Coast and officials are leaving it up to community organizations to work with the city, said Kaulana Park, the state's point man for homeless solutions.
Sadrian "Brother Sage" Chee, a pastor with Ohana, Family of the Living God, set up a village-style, transitional shelter of yurts -- tentlike structures -- in Hauula for qualifying families and individuals. He has been trying to get land for a similar shelter in the North Shore.
"We surely need to do something out in Haleiwa and Mokuleia," Chee said.
In the past, many homeless along the Mokuleia beach line would relocate between the state and city property, depending on which agency was doing the cleanup. But that option is no longer available after a 2004 cleanup of beaches owned by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Though the campers won't be forced to leave yet, many say they can't stay if they have to part with their cars that hold most of their belongings.
"We can't win," said Faustino "Uncle Jr." Soberano, 54, who lives with his family at Mokuleia Beach Park. "By taking away our cars, they're putting us further into the hole."
Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori contributed to this report.