CIVIL RIGHTS AND COMMUNITY ADVOCATES CALL ON CITY TO END CONTINUED MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT “SWEEPS” OF HOUSELESS FAMILIES

AntiSweeps 2019For the second year in a row, a growing list of officials, groups and individuals—representing a broad range of interests and constituencies—released a statement expressing disappointment in the continued and cruel “sweeps” of the houseless community, many of whom are families, by the City and County of Honolulu.

The statement is as follows:

“Here we go again. The City and County of Honolulu is conducting sweeps of our houseless neighbors over the holidays—again. This despite the fact that it doesn’t work (the unsheltered population grew 12% since last year). This despite the fact that the City has admitted ‘of course we know there aren’t enough shelter beds for all 2,400 unsheltered persons at one time.’ This despite the fact that the 9th Circuit Court of appeals has said sweeps like these are unconstitutional, and the United States Supreme Court refused an invitation to disagree.

We never agree with these sweeps. But they are especially cruel during the holidays—particularly when we consider how many of the people affected are children. We want to get people into shelter. But as we said last year when the City swept the houseless population over the holidays, you don’t achieve that goal through unconstitutional sweeps in the middle of the night when shelters and services are limited. There is nothing compassionate about disrupting the lives of people who are already struggling to make ends meet in one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Government resources should be focused on building homes, not criminalizing poverty. If this is the best the City can do, its best is not good enough.

We call on the City to end this counterproductive, cruel, unconstitutional practice and focus its energies on community-based solutions to houselessness that are more effective, legally defensible, and more consistent with the culture of aloha in our island home. Ending this at least over the holidays would be one small step in the right direction.”

The following officials, groups, and individuals joined in this statement:

  • Lieutenant Governor Josh Green
  • African American Lawyers Association (AALA) of Hawai‘i
  • Aloha Immigration
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Hawai‘i
  • Church and Society, Harris United Methodist Church
  • Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i
  • Filipinx Advocacy Network (FAN)
  • Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network
  • Hawai‘i Friends of Civil Rights
  • Hawai‘i Health and Harm Reduction Center (HHHRC)
  • Hawai‘i J20+
  • Honolulu Hawai‘i NAACP
  • Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Honolulu Chapter
  • Muslim Association of Hawai’i
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) of Hawai‘i
  • Pacific Gateway Center, Dr. Tin Myaing Thein, Executive Director
  • The Pōpolo Project
  • SILAH
  • Temple Emanu-El
  • UNITE Here! Local 5
  • Young Progressives Demanding Action (YPDA) of Hawai‘i
  • Dr. Amy Agbayani, Emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Diversity, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
  • Alani Apio, Hui Aloha Volunteer
  • Daphne Barbee-Wooten, Attorney-at-Law
  • Prof. Gaye Chan, Department of Art and Art History, UH Manoa
  • Rev. T. J. FitzGerald, First Unitarian Church of Honolulu
  • Cecilia H. Fordham
  • Clare Hanusz, Attorney-at-Law
  • Faye Kennedy, former Hawai’i Civil Rights Commissioner and Martin Luther King Jr. Commissioner
  • Prof. Mari Matsuda, William S. Richardson School of Law
  • Nathalie Rita, PhD Candidate at UH Manoa
  • Prof. Nandita Sharma, Department of Sociology, UH Manoa
  • Prof. Eric Yamamoto, Fred T. Korematsu Professor of Law and Social Justice at the William S. Richardson School of Law

 

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