Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced a $647,000 fund for revitalizing Oahu’s Chinatown.
The city previously launched a Chinatown Task Force and citywide efforts to control violent crime and improve the neighborhood back in April 2021. However, Blangiardi stressed the need for more innovation and revitalization in a press conference on Wednesday.
“I like the progress that we have made to date in Chinatown. But we are nowhere near where we want to be,” Blangiardi said, according to KITV4.
Officials announced increased funding for improvements to the community, including a new medical unit and a homeless healthcare organization.
“We’re opening up a medical unit and we will open one on ‘H4,’ which we will announce soon. So we will have those two centers that CORE can take people to for medical treatment,” Honolulu Department of Community Services Director Anton Krucky told KITV4.
“We’re in a rare time because of the federal funding that has flowed our way. So now is the time to take advantage of those capital funds. To build facilities, to build beds,” Krucky added.
The Honolulu Police Department is also continuing with its current initiative of four to five patrols per week as part of its commitment to the Chinatown Task force.
Since 2021, the task force has reportedly made 73 arrests and issued more than 5,000 citations.
Although police are usually the first responders to an incident, Police Chief Joe Logan suggested that “other social services and agencies that could help us, such as CORE run by EMS, which is very active in downtown and Waikiki.”
Neighborhood Board 13 Chair Ernest Caravalho spoke up during the press conference, noting that the responsibility of revitalizing the city is also on the community.
“The bottom line in restoring Chinatown and making it not just the heartland but the jewel of Oahu, the jewel of Honolulu is to get the people involved in it,” Caravalho said.
“No matter what our politicians, no matter what our police do, nothing will change unless the community can come forward and get up and move forward to clean up their city,” he added. “It is going to take us.”