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Temporary homeless facility in Kona closes

MEDIA RELEASE

The County of Hawai’i on Tuesday (March 20) closed a temporary homeless facility in Kona, in an effort to relocate the residents to more permanent housing nearby.

The one-acre property at Camp Kikaha had accommodated approximately 20 adults in facilities consisting of tents, portable toilets, a temporary water spigot and showers.

The temporary facility had opened in August last year under an emergency proclamation, under which zoning, building and fire codes were temporarily waived to enable the homeless people to be accommodated at the facility. The proclamation has since expired, and the County is no longer allowed to continue operations at the site exempt from County Code requirements.

“We have found alternate housing for all of the residents, either at permanent supportive housing or the Emergency Shelter in Kona,” said Managing Director Wil Okabe.

Okabe noted that a few of the residents refused to be relocated.

“These individuals who don’t want to be relocated were uncooperative on the camp’s ruels, which bar unauthorized people from outside,” Okabe said. “We want to encourage these folks to accept what we’re offering in terms of accommodation.”

A clean-up crew of volunteers was clearing the site on Tuesday afternoon.

The State has promised the County $25,000 to enable the construction of code-compliant structures, which could include fire-resistant tents or igloos.

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