Police cleared homeless people from Oneula Beach Park yesterday morning. City parks and recreation workers and prisoners were then brought in to clean up the site.

3 arrested as police
evict campers
in Ewa Beach

The city says periodic sweeps
are necessary at Oneula Beach Park


Friday, March 4, 2005

» The Rev. Bob Nakata is pastor of Kahaluu United Methodist Church. Stories on the eviction of homeless campers that ran on Page A1 on Tuesday, in Wednesday's final edition and yesterday incorrectly reported he was pastor of Harris United Methodist Church.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at corrections@starbulletin.com.

Police evicted the homeless from Oneula Beach Park yesterday, but some Ewa Beach residents believe they will return.

"Police do sweeps (at the park) every now and then, but as soon as they leave, they come back," said Ewa Beach resident Stacy Bannister, 23.

Police arrested three people at Oneula Beach Park yesterday: two men, 45 and 47, on contempt of court warrants and a 42-year-old woman on suspicion of illegal camping. Police towed away six cars, and the Hawaiian Humane Society picked up four dogs.

Police said an estimated 100 homeless people lived at the park.

"Everybody pretty much complied," said Capt. Frank Fujii, spokesman for the Honolulu Police Department.

The sweep at Oneula Beach Park follows recent sweeps at Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia and Wahiawa Bridge.

Sweeps are expected to occur today at Pokai Bay and Keaau Beach Park. People illegally camping there were notified of the sweep.

After police officers cleared illegal campers from Oneula Beach Park yesterday, this was what remained of one of the campsites.

Patrick Canoy, who lived at Oneula Beach Park for almost a year, tied rope around boxes of his clothes and books and carried them on a hand truck.

Canoy said he does not know where he will go. "We can live off the beach for a little while," he said.

Les Chang, acting director of the city Department of Parks and Recreation, said, "The basic reason we do this is to keep the parks for the general public and keep it available for everyone."

"It's hard for everyone, but we're trying to look at the good for all citizens. ... We're enforcing the ordinances of our city," said Chang.

Police said residents have complained about assaults and domestic violence that occurred at the park, known as Hau Bush.

In November a homeless man was shot in the face during a drug deal.

Fujii earlier said police need to make this place safe for the general public and that periodic checks will be made at the park.

Police arrested a man who had outstanding warrants.

"I wonder where will they go now or how long it will take for them to come back," said Ashley Silva, 19, who lives in Ewa Beach.

Silva said she knows of one family who has lived at the park for the past seven years.

"It's a lot worse now," said Silva, noting that more homeless people live at the park compared with almost a decade ago, when she used to go swimming and fishing at the beach.

A former legislator, the Rev. Bob Nakata of Harris United Methodist Church, said some faith-based groups are in the planning stages of organizing the "Family Promise Program."

Groups would help house several families at a time, said Nakata.

He noted that it might be a while before the program is set up. "Those who were evicted are pretty much in an unsettled state and are figuring out where to go," said Nakata.

"Nobody has a systematic plan of where to put these people," he added.

Some bills relating to homelessness were introduced during this legislative session.

House Bill 1303 is requesting more affordable housing to allow more individuals to qualify for lower-cost housing.

The bill also calls for the establishment of a legislative affordable rental housing and homeless task force.

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