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Call for action regarding proposed homeless camp In Lahaina

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Call for action regarding proposed homeless camp In Lahaina

We are asking all residents, business owners and parents of schoolchildren in the area of south Lahaina to sign a petition to compel Maui County to delay the approval of a homeless camp on the southern edge of Lahaina for at least one year so that the county and community have had ample time to research and debate the impacts of such a drastic proposal.

Many other communities across North America have tried and failed to create successful homeless camps/tent cities due to a proliferation of problems like: sexual assault, violent behaviour, property theft, drug and alcohol abuse, overpopulation and inadequate sanitation. Sadly, many of them have been dismantled by the very communities that initially approved them.

Currently, there is a public meeting scheduled for July 28th for a special use permit.

People that are homeless/in transition/or financially disadvantaged need a real hand up by providing them with a safe, healthy and secure facility. Providing them with a tent in the hottest area of the island, next to a bridge that already has an unsupervised homeless camp fraught with alcohol, drugs and instability is not appropriate. These people are likely without a vehicle and to put them in an outdoor camp between a main highway and a by-pass is unsafe and full of liability.

The financial impact to Lahaina business and tourism will be a major concern if visitors drive by and see a homeless Tent Camp upon arrival. Property values, sanitation, security and general safety of surrounding businesses and residents are a troubling concern. It is also a concern that the plan for this camp includes visitors on vacation camping next to homeless/transitional people in need. This is out of the norm of recreational camping activities.

There is already a similar facility with 40 dorms and 48 family units located less than a mile from this proposed camp. It seems that an actual building more centrally located and nearer to medical services and public transportation would be more appropriate to help the homeless/transitional/financially disadvantaged population on Maui.

Other alternatives could be for Peter Martin to sell a parcel of land and donate the proceeds to Maui County specifically to build an appropriate shelter or expand the facility behind the Lahaina Aquatic Center; Locate an appropriate shelter in Olowalu where landscaping and infrastructure are already in place and a safe distance screened from the highway; locate an appropriate facility behind an industrial area so that it does not affect schools, residential areas or small businesses.

It appears that Peter Martin and Ali Martin of West Maui Land and Tom Welch of Mancini Welch & Geiger have colluded to fast track a meeting and the approval process even though very few residents are even aware of the proposal. This is neither fair or ethical to the citizens and taxpayers of the Lahaina area. There has been very little time or opportunity for the people of our community to investigate or debate the efficacy of such a camp and whether or not it will affect property values, local businesses or community safety.

The county should not rush a decision on such an explosive issue without serious research on the topic and engagement with the affected community.

Please sign our petition to oppose any approval of a homeless camp until the county and community has had a fair opportunity to fully investigate whether or not this proposal is sensible and reasonable.

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