Honolulu, Hawai‘i: Following up on the press release we sent out last week, we received a copy from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. We are told this guidance will soon be posted on the CDC website. Among other things, the guidance clearly states:
- Unless individual housing units are available, do not clear encampments during community spread of COVID-19. Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.
- Encourage people staying in encampments to set up their tents/sleeping quarters with at least 12 feet x 12 feet of space per individual.
- Ensure nearby restroom facilities have functional water taps, are stocked with hand hygiene materials (soap, drying materials) and bath tissue, and remain open to people experiencing homelessness 24 hours per day.
- If toilets or handwashing facilities are not available nearby, provide access to portable latrines with handwashing facilities for encampments of more than 10 people.
In other words, the City is currently violating this guidance, with further sweeps planned for tomorrow, Monday, March 23, 2020, at 3am and with bathroom facilities at parks closed.
We reached out to the City and County of Honolulu this morning, Sunday, March 22, 2020, and asked for confirmation that in light of this guidance it will: (1) immediately put a moratorium on any further enforcement actions; and (2) reopen all park bathrooms, fully stocked for hygiene purposes.