Homeless camps cover 50 acres, from Waipio Point, around Middle Loch to Pearl City
WAIPAHU » Pastor Joe Hunkin picked his way around rusted car axles, propane tanks and two-by-fours studded with bent nails to find a homeless encampment where people have been cooking and sleeping directly behind Waipahu High School, in an area that received unwanted national attention this month.
Hunkin walked past a pit bull puppy and peered over a makeshift shelter of tents and tarp hidden by koa haole and elephant grass, then pointed toward the high school’s athletic complex barely a football field away.
“The school is right over there,” Hunkin said last week. “This isn’t right.”
The strip of land is bounded by Waipahu High School on one side and the calming waters of Pearl Harbor’s Middle Loch on the other, where the Navy’s mothball fleet sits idle. It’s the most visible portion of an enormous homeless encampment that stretches five miles over approximately 50 acres of city, Navy and state land that serpentines around Waipio Point Access Road, the Ted Makalena Golf Course and the city’s Waipio Soccer Complex and back down to Pearl City in the opposite direction, said Beth Chapman, who uncharacteristically lost a suspect in the swampy brush last year after five straight days of searching the area with her husband, Duane “Dog” Chapman, and their bounty hunting family.