Exploring the Homeless Crisis in West Oahu

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Photo: Emily Metcalf

BY HONOLULU CITY COUNCIL MEMBER TOM BERG – On the news of late is the eviction of the last “major” homeless encampment on city property – click here to see television coverage.

I went out to Keaau Beach Park and surrounding coastline on April 17 and spent a few hours talking to some of the folks that were still packing up their belongings and contemplating where they will go to call home.


Each person I talked to was looking for work and wanted a job. Some admitted they had no skills and lacked an education but would gladly work on a farm tending to crops, or offer their labor in any way they could to get out of the bushes.

There was trash all over the place and to give you a glimpse – I made this short youtube:


Many seeking shelter relocated to the Waianae Boat Harbor area and some went up into the hills out of the cleanup zone.

I will continue to fight for the right of property owners on agricultural lots that are away from residential housing areas to station retrofitted shipping containers, pre-fabricated and modular homes on their property. Unfortunately, government is in the way and blocking my initiative that would let the private sector have a crack at this problem and do what government has been unable to accomplish for decades.

For the folks out in the bushes that I met today, not only is purchasing a home out of reach, but so are the rents. With my shipping container solution, rent would be less than a car payment.