The ACLU of Hawaiʻi sent a letter to Mayor Bissen and Maui County officials this morning demanding the County stop planned sweeps of houseless community members impacted by the Lahaina fires.

We were notified that unsheltered residents living near Hanakao‘o Beach Park and Wahikuli Wayside Park received constitutionally deficient notices very much like the ones we are challenging in a separate lawsuit against Maui County for sweeps conducted at Kanahā Beach Park. Residents were given insufficient notice and a deadline to vacate by 8pm TONIGHT, and weʻve learned the County plans to conduct enforcement actions on or around November 1, 2023.

Those at risk of these impending enforcement actions are members of the Maui community who have been directly impacted by the fires and are still experiencing significant trauma from that disaster. Simply put, they have no place to go. Maui County’s execution of these sweeps under these circumstances is inhumane and violates the constitutional rights of the houseless people who have no choice but to live in public spaces in the wake of the devastating fires that destroyed Lahaina.

We’ve urged the County to halt the planned sweeps, or at the very least, postpone them so it can consider an alternative path forward that mitigates the harm to an incredibly vulnerable community who are already traumatized by unspeakable tragedy.

We have requested a response from the County by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31.While litigation is our last resort we are considering all options available to us if the County ignores these concerns.

We demand that the County immediately cease the sweeps of houseless encampments at all locations County-wide.