It’s been a month since Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that the city and county of Honolulu has purchased a building in Iwilei that will become a newfangled homeless center/shelter/housing but refused to say when it should be expected to actually open.
That’s understandable, since people might actually hold him to it and expect him to do what he says he’s going to do.
Since then, there hasn’t been a peep about any progress on the new facility, and nobody seems to be asking. The mayor has publicly taken credit for the plan a few times, but that’s about it. No details. No schedule. No real plan. No contract to remodel or run the facility. No real progress.
Maybe that’s too harsh an assessment. Maybe he really does know the details, and he’s just saving them to make another big announcement soon and get lots of attention, especially since a recent poll found that he’s now actually trailing badly in the mayoral race to a challenger who doesn’t seem to have any real plan at all to address homelessness. The poll also found respondents pessimistic on homelessness. The August 13 election is less than one month away.
But the city supposedly will talk a little about the new Iwilei center at the Kalihi-Palama Neighbhorhood Board meeting tonight, according to a meeting agenda, which describes the facility as “special needs housing,” quite a bit different than the mayor has publicly characterized it.
It’s strange that officials would present an elaborate new homeless center to the affected community after already purchasing the building and publicly announcing the whole plan.
It’s also weird that the mayor announced the big plan two days after officials met with the community to talk about the neighborhood’s enormous homelessness problem, which people complained is beyond a crisis and is totally out of control in Iwilei, but apparently hid news of the city’s purchase and plan so the mayor could announce it two days later.
Well, it’s about time something is actually done to address the mess. This is the view commuters see along Nimitz Highway.