Speed Reads

Law And Order

Honolulu bans sitting on sidewalks in anti-homeless measure

The Honolulu, Hawaii city council has approved a measure aimed at the local homeless population banning sitting and lying down on sidewalks. The 4,700 homeless people on the island of Oahu are already regularly ticketed for camping, and the city plans to move some of them to a city-owned camp at the nearby Sand Island, which was used as an internment camp for Japanese-Americans in World War II.

Honolulu is far from the only city to enact similar anti-homeless laws. Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and other cities have made it illegal to feed the homeless outside in public spaces, and places like Houston and Orlando have effectively nixed the practice as well. One Florida county spent more than $5 million to repeatedly jail just 37 homeless people for supposed crimes like sleeping in public.

The law, however, has its detractors. "We're helping the public to view the homeless as faceless people — not even people, but objects to sweep away. I'm very disturbed by this," said Honolulu Councilman Breene Harimoto.