(BIVN) – Bright and early on Sunday morning, under the tents outside Hale Kikaha in Kailua-Kona set up for relocated homeless, we found Lance Niimi, Hawaii County’s assistant housing administrator.
The county official was waking up on a cot after spending the night among the houseless who were recently displaced from their encampments at Old Kona Airport.
In a video interview, Niimi described the atmosphere at the makeshift tent facilities, and the ongoing effort to treat the inhabitants with care and dignity.
Hawai’i County Mayor Harry Kim has declared a state of emergency regarding West Hawaii’s homeless encampments at Old Kona Airport.
HOPE Services found emergency shelter beds for 17 of 62 people living at Old Airport, while county officials erected temporary canopies at the Hale Kikaha microunits on Pawai Place to shelter 20 additional people. The Emergency Declaration waives zoning, building, and fire codes for the tents, plus a shower and portable toilets.