Homeless trio gets kicked out of tree house home

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Apr 30 2014 07:09:57 PM HST
Updated On: May 01 2014 12:12:10 PM HST

A trio of homeless men have been given a warning from the Department of Transportation to vacate their treehouse overlooking the H1 freeway.

HONOLULU -

The homeless problem just went vertical with a tree house perched over the H-1 freeway. A trio who lives in that tree house has been told to leave and their home has to go too.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's story.

The home was built a few days ago and it's only held up by three nails and tree limbs, but three men who live there say it's safer than being down on the streets.

"No one bothers us here. It's relaxing up there. Cops can't sneak up on you," said tree house resident Tobias Debardeleben.

"You get high ground. They got to come up. We got them," said Todd Weeks who lives in the tree house.

Hidden away- the homeless men say more people are building up into the trees to stay out of the way.

"They tell us it's an eyesore. I'm not an eyesore because I'm out of everyone's view," said Mike Fernandez, another tree house resident.

The Department of Transportation spotted it and posted this notice: a warning to vacate within 7 days.

The DOT says "it is illegal to do any work or building anything within the state DOT right of way without a permit."

Even with that eviction notice, at least Fernandez has plans on extending the tree house. He's going to put a platform on a tree branch to hang below his hammock.

Weeks says it's a reminder of why they thought of building up.

"They did a sweep. I lost everything. They keep doing sweeps so we can't build structures, tents, tree houses," said Weeks.

The Institute for Human Services says the tree houses are a reflection of people trying to develop alternatives and a safe place when they can't afford housing.

Two of the men plan to move into an apartment with social security funds after the seven days.

Every six months or as needed the DOT crews clean up encampments on state land.

DOT vacate posting

DOT vacate posting

DOT vacate posting

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