Editorial: Move ahead on homeless laws

It’s hard enough persuading homeless people on Oahu to move off the sidewalks and into a proper shelter. It’s harder still when the City Council and Mayor Kirk Caldwell won’t stop squabbling about it. 

A Council committee this week pushed ahead with Resolution 18-246, which would throw another roadblock in front of the administration’s effort to enforce two recently enacted ordinances that bar blocking public sidewalks and illegal public lodging.

The resolution would require the administration first to provide more specific and detailed plans on how it would address homelessness in each of the nine Council districts. The 95-page action plan the administration did provide was deemed inadequate by some Council members, who also expressed concerns about court challenges.

“To press forward for enforcement without more signifies to us that we are not necessarily going to be successful,” said Council member Carol Fukunaga.

Perhaps. But doing nothing more than generating action plans guarantees they won’t be successful. And those who live with large homeless populations, especially on the west side, are crying for help now. It would behoove the Council to allow enforcement to go forward, and for Council members to set aside political gamesmanship and work with the administration — in a spirit of cooperation and mutual interest — to address the homeless problems unique to each of their districts.

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