Homeless problem hits governor’s mansion, Washington Place

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Aug 09 2013 03:56:00 PM HST

A flurry of activity at the Governor's mansion today. All of a sudden, there's a 12-ft fence going in!

HONOLULU -

The homeless problem has literally hit home with Hawaii's First Family.

Security breaches at the governor's mansion and Washington Place have prompted emergency action.

A 12-foot-high chain link fence was erected quickly after a rash of problems with homeless on the property.

There’ve been five incidents so far this year, but the governor's security detail decided to act fast after dealing with three cases in three weeks.

The governor's bodyguards and state sheriffs were on hand Friday afternoon inspecting the work.

Workers we talked to say generally the homeless don’t hang out in the area behind Washington Place in the daytime. They are drawn to the area at night to sleep. There’s evidence of that. Someone left their bedding up in the trees.

Staff in the nearby Lili'oukulani building report seeing homeless at times tapping into the water spigots to do laundry.

Carol Cummings says she's noticed the problem as she walks by this area on her way to work.

“There are homeless, sometimes with a shopping cart. When I walk thorough I try and walk as fast as possible, but they have not bothered me," said Cummings.

 Others say they try to be on guard when walking to the parking garage after working late at night.

 The capitol district is protected with strict design restrictions.

Passers-by hoped the glaring chain link barricade would be dressed up with landscaping.

The fence, which cost $16,500, is said to be a temporary measure.

The governor’s office says the homeless problem isn’t new to the mansion. It happened when former Governor Linda Lingle lived here too.

 And while we are told the incidents have been non-threatening-- mainly homeless people looking for a quiet place to sleep--the governor's security detail doesn’t want to take any chances.

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