DLNR CONTINUES COORDINATED EFFORTS TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS AT DIAMOND HEAD
(HONOLULU) – More than 30 camps on both sides of Diamond Head are being cleaned-up this week. The clean-up at Diamond Head is part of a larger statewide coordinated effort to manage threats to natural and cultural resources on State lands and parks under DLNR jurisdiction.
The statewide efforts by DLNR are not focused only on cleanup and enforcement of “no camping” rules, explained Pua Aiu, who serves as homeless coordinator for DLNR. “Housing is a piece, outreach is a piece, and enforcement is a piece of the plan and if you don’t have all three, it’s not going to work,” said Aiu.
DLNR uses a private contractor to store or dispose items encountered at Diamond Head camp sites. Law enforcement support for the clean-up operations is provided by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), and by officers from the Honolulu Police Department District 7 Community Policing Team.
“Having HPD join us has been very helpful because they can easily make connections between what may be happening in Waikīkī and what’s happening on Diamond Head. Our officers cannot always make those connections because they only patrol DLNR lands,” Aiu added.
At Diamond Head, other key partners are case workers from the Institute for Human Services, the City T.E.A.M. Work Hawaii program, and social work students from the University of Hawai’i Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health, who assist in outreach and notification to homeless individuals prior to the enforcement. Outreach is offered in conjunction with shelter and housing programs, such as the City and County of Honolulu’s Housing and Outreach Navigation for Unsheltered (HONU) program.
“Did you want to try get back into the HONU?” asked Aiu of a homeless individual encountered during the clean-up. The HONU is operated by the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) and Aiu or any DLNR staff can call for a pick-up and transport to the HONU; usually arriving within half an hour.
Even if an individual declines HONU assistance, outreach is a critical component to ensure services continues beyond the clean-up date to ensure continuity if an individual is encountered repeatedly. “We don’t have to start from scratch on that person,” Aiu said, regarding the role of homeless outreach. “We know . . . what their needs are, who their case manager is, and we can pick up where we left off.”
DLNR will continue clean-ups on its properties throughout April at locations including Kapena Falls, Sand Island State Recreational Area, and on unencumbered lands in Kapolei and Leeward O‘ahu.
For more information about the State approach to homelessness, visit https://homelessness.hawaii.gov. People can also contact (808) 586-0193 or e-mail email@example.com to report a homeless concern on State lands, including on DLNR lands.