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Maui offers homeless people safe overnight sleeping location

GaxiolaTsuhakoVictorino.JPG
Shane Tegarden
/
Maui County
Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino marks the signing of Bill 108 with Cameron Center Executive Director César Gaxiola and Department of Housing and Human Concerns Director Lori Tsuhako. (Sept. 8, 2022)

The J. Walter Cameron Center in Wailuku will become the location of a new pilot program in Maui. The one-year test will allow people without homes to utilize the parking lot as a safe place to sleep overnight.

State law prohibits people from sleeping in cars from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on public land, but this new county law supersedes that.

Use of the center’s space will be determined via registered applications. There will be a limit of up to 30 vehicles to start. The program is expected to start in October.

Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said the nonprofit and its center have an ongoing lease agreement with the county.

"Together, we chose J. Walter Cameron Center, which has a lease with the county until 2044," Victorino said. "This site is located centrally and close to social service providers that can help those people who welcome their assistance."

The center at 95 Mahalani St. sits in an area nearby other services.

"We're also adjacent to the Maui Memorial Hospital and the Maui Police Station, so our program participants can feel comfortable," Victorino said.

The effectiveness of the pilot program will be monitored by the county's Housing and Human Concerns Department. The program already has $200,000 allocated in this fiscal year's budget.

Sabrina Bodon is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at sbodon@hawaiipublicradio.org or 808-792-8252.
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