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County removes 13 more vehicles, 8 tons of waste from Amala Place

Workers clear out rubbish along Amala Place in Kahului. COUNTY OF MAUI / Shane Tegarden photo

The Maui News

County employees and contractors removed 13 remaining derelict vehicles and eight more tons of solid waste from Amala Place as cleanup efforts near completion.

The county and state Department of Land and Natural Resources have been asking residents to leave the area as workers clear out abandoned vehicles and rubbish from the large homeless encampment. Advocates, including the ACLU of Hawaii, have spoken out against the efforts, saying people have few places to take shelter.

At one point, nearly 80 individuals had been living in the Amala Place encampment, according to the county. Since the cleanup began Monday, social workers have been able to assist eight individuals to move into shelter with support services, and 11 have moved out of the area, the county said Wednesday. Five occupants remained temporarily camped on privately owned land; two are planning to move into shelter today and the other three will relocate by Friday at the landowner’s request.

“I understand how disruptive change can be,” Mayor Michael Victorino said in a news release. “But I truly believe this is a change for the better for everyone concerned. Area occupants were able to get a new start in clean, safe accommodations with services to help them move ahead.”

Amala Place will be closed again from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. today to allow for thorough cleaning, including a magnetic sweep for small metal objects such as used hypodermic needles. Amala Place and the Amala gate to Kanaha Beach Park will reopen as planned Friday. Access to Kanaha Beach Park will be through Koeheke/Ka’a Street until then.

Additional “no trespassing” signs are being installed on public lands lining Amala Place. Maui Police Department officers will regularly patrol the area to ensure it remains clear, safe and accessible to the public, the county said.

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