(BIVN) – After reopening public restrooms at Hawaiʻi small boat harbors and ramps as per federal guidance in the time of COVID-19, the state has seen widespread vandalism, and now says it needs community support to keep the facilities open.
From the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources:
Last Wednesday all DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) restrooms statewide at state small boat harbors (SBH) and boat ramps reopened to observe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for ensuring availability of toilets and hand washing facilities for people experiencing homelessness during this COVID-19 emergency.
Since then vandalism, destruction and filth has occurred at these public restroom facilities and criminal activities at these sites have scared away individuals trying to use these them. “Toilet paper has been stolen from all bathrooms and almost all have had their dispensers broken. On Maui, all harbor restrooms have been vandalized with graffiti and worse on the walls,” said Ed Underwood, DOBOR Administrator. At least one restroom facility has been closed due to the toilet being stuffed with materials.
Currently, Wai’anae is not facing the destruction and disregard that other SBH restrooms are experiencing. The Pu’uhonua o Wai’anae and Hui Aloha asked DOBOR to open bathrooms and have offered to assist in maintaining them and caring for them. The two community groups have set up bathroom brigades to curb vandalism and ensure facilities there are stocked with supplies. Under their stewardship the Wai’anae SBH restrooms are otherwise spotless. However, because of vandalism at night, DLNR in consultation with the Pu’uhonua, will be closing the Waianae restrooms at 4:00 p.m. daily.
Given the rate of destruction and shortages of overall supplies which includes cleaners, toilet paper and personal protection equipment (PPE) for staff, the DLNR/DOBOR may not be able to keep additional SBH facilities open through April 30, unless homeless communities or service providers step up to help take care of them.
If any community groups would like to help for any DLNR restrooms or other public restrooms, please contact the Behavioral Health and Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group (BHH-SURG) at [this website].