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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hale'iwa harbor parking lot being closed to homeless

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Staff Writer

In an effort to regain parking for boaters at Hale'iwa's harbor, state officials will begin closing the parking lot at night, which will affect the dozens of homeless people who live there.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources installed signs at the harbor yesterday spelling out the parking rules that will be enforced.

The parking lot will be closed at night to all but permitted users, boat-slip renters and boaters with trailers.

"This is not a homeless issue, although those people are going to be affected and they will have to vacate the harbor,"said Ed Underwood, administrator for the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.

Underwood said about 50 vehicles are taking up spaces that are meant for boaters.

People are living out of their cars and setting up permanent structures under nearby trees.

Harbormaster Paul Sensano estimated that 60 to 75 people are living in the parking lot.

"We're hoping to get this plan in effect by next weekend," Underwood said.

The sign installation caused concern among homeless people there and prompted area resident Judy Riggs to make phone calls to the area's legislator and to news media.

Riggs, a retired educator who said she has lived in Hale'iwa for a year, said she walks past the small-boat harbor every day and is on friendly terms with one of the homeless women, who Riggs said is upset about having to move out.

A meeting was to take place yesterday afternoon to address the issue, and Riggs said she would go to see what more she could do to help.

"I believe if enough people that have power could come together with compassion, we can be very creative in helping these people out," Riggs said.