Ire rises as city lets homeless seize bus stops
Our column about the city Department of Transportation Services saying it basically could not force the homeless to move from bus stops ("Kokua Line," Aug. 14) prompted angry responses from those familiar with the grossly unsanitary conditions at the Cooke Street/Kapiolani Boulevard stop.
They also show that people have tried to help the couple setting up house at that stop, but there is no easy solution in dealing with a dysfunctional person.
We passed the comments on to the department and asked to be updated on the situation if there were any changes:
» If they power-washed the bus stop at Cooke and Kapiolani like they said, it's not apparent because that place is still a filthy sty. If we, who pay to ride TheBus, cannot use these bus stops to get in and out of the weather, I suggest they remove the covering. I've spoken to various people at TheBus and the mayor's office, and they've got to find a better solution to cleaning up the filth. Bus stops are for people using the bus, they're not someone's home. -- William Adair
» It's outrageous for the city to say the homeless can take up space at bus stops. Melvin Kaku, director of Transportation Services, should know that on an average day, more than 100 individuals use the bus stop at Kapiolani and Cooke. It not only stinks of urine, but these homeless folks are now using it as a permanent residence. I have seen them change their clothes in the open, exposing themselves, and nothing is being done. What about our rights? Kaku mentioned that the city has begun to power-wash these stops as necessary. He needs to get out of his seat and inspect the stop and see that it is a health hazard that needs immediate attention. -- Johanna Ferge
» We know the married couple referred to at the Cooke/Kapiolani bus stop. They used to frequent the Fort Street Mall area. We tried to get them help from various agencies many times. We allowed them to recharge their wheelchairs at our church but had too many complaints about the urine.
We decided for health reasons to ask them not to come on our property anymore. At one point we were able to persuade the woman to seek help and got her into a shelter. They cleaned her up and got her medications back on track.
Two weeks later she was back on the streets with her husband, who we believe abuses her and controls her money. We are concerned about her health problems: diabetes, high blood pressure, incontinence and cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, you cannot force a person to get help, even when help is offered. -- Alika Cullen, Joseph Ramos, Laura-Ann Josiah and Calvin Liu
» I have written so many people and made so many phone calls about people lying down at bus stops, but no one listens. It could all be solved if the city would stop using benches and start using circular cement stools so people can't lie down. They do this all over Europe. -- No Name
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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