POLL RESULTS: Do you support “Safe Zones”?

As the City Council continues to consider solutions to improve public safety and quality of life for residents, we continue to seek your input on the critical issue of homelessness.
Last week, I polled residents on Safe Zones as a tool to help curb homelessness.  Here are the results:
According to the results:

  • 31% of respondents were “Very Against”;
  • 12% were “Somewhat Against”;
  • 2% were “Neutral”;
  • 16% “Somewhat Support”;
  • 39% “Very Support” the idea of safe zones in our community.

General comments included:

SUPPORT
AGAINST
Implementation of “safe zones” will cost less than sweeps and be less disruptive to homeless individuals/families. Instead, the City should focus on building more shelters and expanding mental health services.
Providing shelter and assistance in designated areas will be beneficial for the homeless. These safe zones can quickly become “unsafe zones” if rules/regulations are not implemented.
Hawaiian Puuhonua tradition: Create a safe space/sanctuary where residents have the ability and responsibility to sustain themselves. May create an attitude of reliance in which homeless individuals will not seek to move into permanent housing.
There should be one in every district, not just certain areas on our island. Does not create a permanent solution for homelessness.
Some believe that sanctioning Safe Zones, as described in Resolution 17-227, will offer people experiencing homelessness a place to stay without fear, while also providing sanitary shared bathroom and kitchen spaces. Moreover, these places could make it easier for social service providers to find and work with homeless individuals.
Nevertheless, the administration and other observers also shared concerns about public safety, health and whether setting up and policing these ‘zones’ would be the most effective way to spend limited city, state and federal dollars earmarked for homeless relief.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the Committee considered these concerns and expanded its suggestion to urge the administration to look at other forms of homeless relief that could be a more efficient way to move people off the street, including – urban rest stops, navigation centers and community/social service centers.
I look forward to working with all stakeholders to help our families experiencing homelessness, off the street and into transitional and eventually – permanent supportive housing.  If you have any thoughts or comments you would like to share with me, feel free to email me at kmpine@honolulu.gov.