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County can do better than simple eviction

On Sept. 14, a short article was published with the headline, “Homeless in Kanaha line the streets.”

The article made mention of a collaboration between the County of Maui and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, citing concerns for public health and safety, as well as wildlife sanctuary improvements. I want to fill in this picture.

The residents of Kanaha are not the source of the issues, nor should they be placed at odds with conservation efforts. In fact, our unsheltered community members should be considered the “canary in the coal mine” of our housing crisis.

They are not the public health problem, the conditions they must live in are. They are not the public safety issue, the police harassment they face is. The trauma they endure daily is the ultimate public health and safety issue.

The article fails to mention that they were given only seven days to relocate or will be forcibly evicted on Sept. 20 at 6 a.m.

Many are disabled. Many are without vehicles. Shelters are full or do not take companion animals. Maui County can do better and 30 days to vacate, with relocation support, is the bare minimum.

Jordan Hocker

Kula

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