HAWAII — Honolulu city leaders are considering expanding the reach of a law that bans people from sitting or lying down on certain public sidewalks.
The so-called “sit-lie” ban would be expanded to include the neighbourhoods of Kalihi and Iwilei under a bill introduced by City Councilman Joey Manahan. Another bill from Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi would expand the ban in the Ala Moana area.
The bans could help small businesses owners who contend homeless encampments are bad for their businesses, according to Manahan and Kobayashi. Critics of the bans say they may be unconstitutional.
The first ban was introduced by Mayor Kirk Caldwell in 2014. It originally targeted Waikiki and was later expanded to include 15 other neighbourhoods.
“The encampments have grown to a point where they’re no longer manageable. It’s really a last resort at this point for us to be able to try and manage the area,” Manahan told The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, who has voted against the bans in the past and serves as the chairwoman of the Zoning and Housing Committee, told the Star-Advertiser that she is open to hearing about the proposals but believes officials need to focus more on finding housing for those who need it.
“I continue to be against sit-lie legislation because it only pushes the problem from one street to the other,” Pine said. “(But) every Council member has every right to introduce legislation that they feel is right for their community. I know they’re doing this for emergency purposes.”