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Addressing Solutions for Maui’s Unsheltered

About

Faith Chase, a 49-year resident of Maui, is a mother and grandmother who has testified at many Maui County and Hawaii State hearings. Her interest in island agriculture inspired her turn from graphic design to writing.


The diligence of Share Your Mana is unmatched. Tenacious and calm fortitude through bureaucratic red tape and character differences makes this organization the leader in best practices with assisting Maui County’s less fortunate residents.

A registered non-profit, Share Your Mana has garnered a myriad of supporters and partners. It’s valuable to include all who want to help when you are desperately trying to get a message out that remains consistent. Sometimes, not all are in line with the organization goals and it is a tap dance to be clear and grateful for who have different ideas of helping.

Share Your Mana was inspired by the need to provide a conduit for the county administration to understand the responsibilities of this extreme-need population. Share Your Mana’s Founder and direct action leader, Lisa Darcy, has led an ungovernable path towards the conversations for solutions. While the ultimate goal towards progress is consistently envisioned, the road travelled has not had clear signage.

The sounding of the COVID-19 virus alarm and the additional cautions sent Share Your Mana’s existing needs into a whirlwind of damage control and systematically requested urgent collaboration considerations. The situation was elevated with learning the possibility of accelerated police presence. This is an unnecessary struggle for residents who are already issued tickets for all sorts of other reasons and remain trapped in the endless cycle of poverty. Now with the corona virus pandemic, more violating ‘stay-at-home order’ tickets are being issued to those who have no designated place to shelter.

The number of those in need became more visible the first week of the “shelter in place” order. The number of residents at Kanaha Beach Park grew to over 75 within one week. Those who live in their cars are not categorized by some governmental support as “unsheltered” and are part of the “unseen and uncounted” homeless. Under normal circumstances this population moves around and are not stationary.

The closed parks order by Mayor Victorino and supported by the Parks Director has sent a mixed message, confusing the public. He recently reopened beaches in opposition to Governor Ige’s closure order, yet Maui park entrance gates remained locked. Even prior to this, a protest and gate locks were cut in efforts to draw attention to the problem. The Parks and Recreation Department denied the incident occurred stating that they were planning on changing the lock box anyway.

Locked gates with No Trespassing signs in front of porta potty. A band aid solution from Maui County to providing essential bathrooms and water access.

 

Share Your Mana founder, Lisas Darcy shows the long road behind her that unsheltered residents must walk to use Maui County bathroom facilities.

The first response after early protest prompted the Parks and Recreation Department to provide a porta potty. The porta potty was put inside the park gate with signage that reads “No Tresspassing”. People were required to break the law to defecate in a sanitary manner. After the first and only county person-to-person meeting, a make-shift hydrant jumper faucet was also provided to serve 75 people. Those forced to live in such closed quarters argued and debated over six minute limited showers. Later, a second porta potty was delivered. The gesture demonstrates a clear abandonment or public health responsibilities and only after this meeting with a resident who is a double amputee was an ADA portable supplied.

A photograph of the long road to access bathroom facilities in the Kanaha Beach Park area.

In efforts to understand what plans were being developed, the following departments were and have been continually presented with the concerns of the unsheltered and houseless: Maui Homeless Alliance. Department of Housing and Human Concerns Director, the Maui County Mayors Office, Maui County Mayors Communications Office, Parks & Recreation Department, Civil Defense and the Department of Health and Public Health Nursing. The only department who has returned and maintained any activity has been the Parks Department.

It’s been almost one month since the stay at home order and no one can produce a plan or a course of action to provide basic human needs for these Maui residents. Several County Council Members have opened up their prevue to gain insights and it is important to track their support and actions.

Share Your Mana calls upon all agencies who receive funding to assist the unsheltered collectively and understand that the common denominator is that everyone has the fundamental right to water and bathrooms. In a time when so much is of heightened concern, might those who work within the scope of this subject area, merely, do their job??

To be crystal clear, stepping up into the jobs you are paid to do, serve the people who pay your wages through taxation will produce positive outcomes. Hear the stories now and coalesce around immediate solutions to help these residents who have congregated because of this recent alarm and you will effectively support our Emergency Room resources to concentrate on emergencies not preventable issues.

 

Relative subject petition:

Mayor Victorino: Open The Gates for Humane Access to Water & Bathrooms

 

Maui Time subject story:

The Kanaha ʻOhana Finds its Voice: How COVID-19 has rallied the forgotten homeless

 

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