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Mobile homeless center pilot program launches

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii authorities have launched three inflatable tents at a park on Oahu to make up what they say is the first mobile homeless center on the island.

The Homeless Outreach and Navigations for Unsheltered Persons project intends to temporarily house homeless people while social service agencies help them move into permanent housing.

“We are going to provide a lot of intensive outreach and we are going to surround it with intensive enforcement. If we are going to use your city park we want to make sure we give something back,” Honolulu Police Capt. Mike Lambert said.

Three 400-square-foot tents were setup at Waipahu Cultural Garden Park and each tent can house up to 10 people, authorities said. People housed in the tents would be given access to food, showers, restrooms, storage and kennels for pets, authorities said. Park regulations on overnight stays would be lifted so homeless can stay in the tents and officers would provide security, officials said.

“If we’re going to tell people they you can’t be in the park we need to make sure we have an available option for them,” Lambert said.

About $6 million was budgeted to cover costs for a three-year project, city officials said.

The project expects to spend 90 days in Waipahu before moving to another city-owned park, officials said.

“We’re going to go into communities and help to address the needs of people who are struggling there, and as soon as were ready to go we will have the next community to go to,” said Rebecca Soon, deputy director of the city’s Department of Community Services.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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