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Friday, February 13, 2015
Caldwell signs law prohibiting sitting or lying on pedestrian malls
By News Release @ 3:04 AM :: 3366 Views :: Homelessness

Mayor Caldwell signs law prohibiting sitting or lying on pedestrian malls

News Release from City and County of Honolulu February 12, 2015

Chinatown - Mayor Kirk Caldwell, surrounded by Chinatown and Downtown business leaders, this morning signed Bill 62, prohibiting sitting or lying in four city pedestrian malls in the Chinatown/Downtown business district: Fort Street Mall, Kekaulike Mall, Sun Yat Sen Mall, and Union Mall.

“Sit-lie is working,” said Mayor Caldwell.  “We’re hearing this from residents and businesses in Waikīkī, Downtown and Chinatown.  With Bill 62, we’re adding an additional tool to help make business districts across O‘ahu safe and accessible for all.”

This new law complements the bill signed into law by Mayor Caldwell on December 2, 2014 prohibiting sitting or lying on sidewalks in specific business districts around the island, including Chinatown and Downtown, and the original law signed in September 2014 banning sitting and lying in the business district of Waikīkī.

Sit-lie laws require police to issue a warning before any other action is taken.  The vast majority of people who have been warned comply without any further action.

Sit-lie was enacted for Waikīkī on September 16, 2014, then the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) conducted an educational period until September 26.  Since then, HPD has issued a total of 489 warnings and 110 citations.  Only 2 arrests have been made.

Since enforcement began in Chinatown and Downtown in mid-December, HPD has issued 964 warnings and only 10 citations and 3 arrests.

The Institute for Human Services (IHS) reports a notable decrease in visible homelessness in Waikīkī since sit-lie went into effect, including a 50% increase in people experiencing homelessness from out-of-state compared to last winter season.  IHS has received positive feedback from Waikīkī residents and businesses on the progress made through sit-lie and increased community outreach.

IHS January Status Update (3-month report):

  • Intakes (Clients Receiving Services) from Waikiki: 68
    • Moved into Shelter: 14
    • Moved into Housing: 6 (5 are Housing First, 1 Permanent Housing)
    • Relocated Out-of-State: 3
    • Housing-Ready: 27 (24 are looking for housing)
    • Relocation Inquiries/Prospects: 18

Additional information provided by IHS:

  • Since the law went into effect, homeless outreach personnel are finding and serving more individuals who have been experiencing homeless for 10+ years.
  • Outreach workers have had more individuals accept services since sit-lie has been enforced.
  • Meal program numbers are increasing – IHS is now serving an average of 750 meals per day compared to about 650 meals per day at this time last year (2014).
  • Waikīkī residents have mentioned to IHS leadership and outreach workers that overall visible homelessness has decreased.  For the most part, Waikīkī stakeholders are happy about sit-lie and the progress it’s making.

Just as sit-lie paired with IHS’ outreach initiative is making a positive impact in Waikīkī, enforcement of Bill 62 is aimed to complement homeless service efforts currently underway in the Chinatown business district.

The city has entered into a five-year contract with Mental Health Kokua (MHK) to repurpose Pauahi Hale and provide a broad range of services to help some of the most vulnerable members of the Downtown/Chinatown community.  Initial services currently provided under the contract include public showers, restrooms, and hygiene facilities from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week.

MHK has partnered with IHS, River of Life Mission and other nonprofits as part of its Pauahi Hale Enrichment Program, which will serve as a portal of entry into social services, housing, and medical and behavioral health treatment.

Approximately 67 residents will be housed at Pauahi Hale, including 42 Housing First clients and 25 people participating in MHG’s Safe Haven program.  Countless others will be assisted through outreach, assessment, referral, and hygiene services operated out of Pauahi Hale.

-END-

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