Many homeless parking questions need answers

A letter in the Dec. 3 paper from a Wailuku writer supports a proposal by County Council Member Kelly King for a pilot program to make the South Maui Regional Park in Kihei exempt from the Maui law prohibiting people from sleeping in their cars.

The purpose of this change is purportedly to provide homeless families “a safe place to sleep until they can find an affordable rental or other solution.” In reality, this proposed exemption from the law will most likely result in not just overnight parking, but permanent encampments of homeless people at the South Maui Regional Park.

There are many questions that need to be answered:

1. Since the proposal is being sold as providing a “safe place,” will the county be responsible for the safety of homeless families living in the park?

2. Will a police guard be assigned to the park to protect families living in the park?

3. Will cars spending the night be searched for drugs and other contraband?

4. What will be the impact on the use of recreational facilities if the grounds are being shared with a homeless encampment?

5. How will parking facilities be affected?

Kihei is a great community. Some of its most valuable resources are its parks and parking availability. We should not degrade these facilities with a poorly conceived “rob Peter to pay Paul” scheme to create living areas for homeless people in our parks and parking areas.

Paul Arsuaga