ACLU DEMAND LETTER ON MAUI COUNTY SWEEPS OF PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOUSELESSNESS AT PUʻUHONUA O KANAHA
The ACLU of Hawaiʻi Foundation (“ACLU of Hawaiʻi”) has learned that the County of Maui (“County”) has started, and is continuing, sweeps to forcibly evict people and their belongings from Pu‘uhonua o Kanaha—a houseless encampment on Amala Place near Kanahā Beach Park. We understand that the County has already blocked access to the public park and public bathrooms and water located nearby and has been forcing people to leave the area on threat of criminal prosecution. We have also learned that, so far, the Maui Police Department arrested at least one person observing the County-led blockade, even though she committed no apparent crime.1 We write to express our concerns about the ongoing sweep, especially considering the public health dangers it presents in spreading COVID-19, as well as the County’s broader, unconstitutional practices regarding houselessness, which needlessly involve police and thus also needlessly fuel the criminalization of houselessness and poverty.
We demand that the County immediately cease the sweeps of houseless encampments at all locations County-wide.