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DOT clears out homeless people at Kahului Harbor breakwater

Crews clear an area of homeless camps and naupaka bushes along Kahului Beach Road on Wednesday afternoon. Family Life Center Executive Director Maude Cumming said there had been 10 to 12 people living in the area for several months. State Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara said the area was cleared out after the department received complaints about unauthorized people in the area. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Maui News

State Department of Transportation crews cleared out a homeless encampment in the Kahului Harbor breakwater area Wednesday.

DOT spokesman Tim Sakahara said the department worked with Maui County and other community stakeholders to do a cleanup Wednesday morning of an area near Kahului Harbor and Kahului Beach Road.

“The work was initiated after we received various complaints of unauthorized occupants in the area,” he said. “Notices of the planned cleanup were posted one month in advance.”

Social workers provided outreach and shelter options, he said.

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Family Life Center Executive Director Maude Cumming said Wednesday her agency did outreach to homeless people in the area for several months and had identified 10 to 12 individuals.

“Another three campsites were noted,” she said.

Despite canvassing at different times of the day, the agency was unable to make contact with people using the additional campsites.

“All that were identified were offered resources, including emergency shelter services,” she said.

On Wednesday, Family Life officials were at the breakwater, and only one person remained, Cumming said.

The windblown camps feature a range of building materials, from driftwood and flat flagstones, to tarps, plywood and tents. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“She declined shelter services,” Cumming said.

Another four people came into the Family Life facility nearby in Kahului, “and we are hopeful that more thorough assessments can be completed,” she said. “We are aware that most of them moved to neighboring areas and will continue to follow up.”

The agency has worked in other nearby areas, including the Rivermouth area in Paukukalo, and it has been able to find housing for some individuals, “but finding affordable housing continues to be a challenge,” Cumming said.

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