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Sanford L Hill
Sanford L Hill
I am a renegade, renaissance, Hawaii surfer poet who loves to think, experiment, and create radically outside the box. Born and raised in Hawaii, I am currently homeless trying to publish a series of articles on my homeless experience on Maui, which I will combine into a ebook "No Shame".


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Posted in Society / Activism / Equal Rights

The Hygiene Inspection

Jan. 19, 2015 6:41 pm
Categories: Homeless

Photo of my "Step Up" certificate and homeless shelter conducting "Hygiene Inspection"Used only with express written permission

The Hygiene Inspection

By Sanford L. Hill

One of the many bizarre rituals residents at the KHAKO homeless shelter must endure, and pay for, is the “Hygiene Inspection”. This routine is a good example of a program that was developed by good intentioned people to solve what they considered a problem: Some homeless residents of KHAKO were very messy people who did not keep their old, dilapidated units clean enough, and sometimes damaged them. When you have been discriminated against, segregated and basically thrown under the bus by society, keeping your place clean is not a priority. The people who developed the Hygiene Inspection have never been on tour with a rock band or visited a Wailea luxury home before the maid got there.

The Hygiene Inspection started when a former KHAKO case worker got a grant from the County of Maui to teach the homeless how to keep their units clean and to inspect all the KHAKO units twice a month for uncleanness. She was paid by the taxpayers to do this. It’s legal to do this because of a small clause in the Hawaii State Landlord Tenant Law that exempts homeless shelters from following the law that makes inspections like this illegal. So only homeless people in Hawaii get their hygiene inspected this way. Lucky us.

The Hygiene inspection actually starts with 5 classes called “Step Up” that all homeless at KHAKO must attend. These classes cover the cleaning of toilets, identifying cockroaches, sweeping and mopping: things that homeless people obviously don’t know to do. The main reason for the classes is to let the homeless know what they must do to pass the random unannounced Hygiene Inspection conducted twice a month whether you are home or not and what will happen if you don’t pass. They gave me a spiffy “Step Up” diploma when I completed the course. I hang it right next to my two college degrees just to keep me humble.

So what is an actual “hygiene Inspection” like? Lucky for you I left my computer camera running during a recent inspection so you can see for yourself in the 14mb video download. The inspection itself was done by two KHAKO operations personnel: operations manager Lee Teruya and sweet little Mia. Lee also conducts the “Step Up” classes, which you will have to retake if you fail the inspection and reinspection. Lee gets paid to teach the classes. I told them that I was videoing this inspection so it’s probably not typical. No one has ever videoed a hygiene inspection before.

It starts with a knock on the door and the operations workers announcing that this is a “Hygiene Inspection” and they are coming in. If you don’t open the door, or are not home, they use their key to enter. Remember these inspections are done at random times without warning to make sure residents don’t clean up their units just for the inspection, or so I was told.

In the video you can see Mia coming in and turning on all the lights. The operations personnel are polite as they check to see if my bed is made, there are no dishes in the sink, the bathroom is clean, etc. Lee opens my refrigerator and tells me the crisper needs cleaning. I tell him the crisper on that side of the refrigerators is my roommates’ and that he is on the “clean what he feels fair plan”. He decides what is fair for him to clean.

The “clean what is fair plan” is one of the many agreed on, and unagreed on, ways roommate determine how to keep their unit clean. KHAKO’s policy is basically both roommates are equally responsible for keeping the unit clean and that “we’re both adults and should be able to work it out”. It seems to me that it’s adults who can’t work things out who are responsible for a majority of the world’s problems. Yet KHAKO expects two very different homeless people who are forced to live together in a small tenement room to work it out. Keeping the units clean and the inspections are a source of much of the tension between roommates here.

In my experience here I’ve found what is considered clean varies widely between roommates, never mind the KHAKO hygiene inspectors. My unit was inspected a few days ago when I was not here. I had emergency Gallbladder surgery last month, but still thought my unit was clean. Though my unit did not fail inspection, I received a written note that my ceiling fan and ceiling florescent lights where to “dusty”. I guarantee I could go into most people home and find dusty ceiling fans and lights. The unit next to mine had a ceiling fan that was far dirtier, yet they were not given a notice. On top of that they left my door open and unlocked when they left.

It’s not how the hygiene inspection is done that’s upsetting. It’s that hygiene inspections are done at all that’s wrong. How would you like someone to come to your home unannounced twice a month and inspect it for “hygiene” whether you are there or not? If the inspectors didn’t like the way you cleaned your house they would leave you written notes. If they really didn’t like way you kept your house you have to spend 5 nights being reeducated on housekeeping. If they find a beer you get kicked out. If they find a joint you go to jail.

The operations personnel who conduct the Hygiene program are just doing it as part of their job. Of course if operations people didn’t have policies like this to occupy their time, they might not have a job. It is one of the many programs that are forced on the homeless that primarily benefit the people who design, manage and conduct them. This is money that could be used to provide the homeless humane shelter, but that would make to much sense…Let the madness continue.

So on this Martin Luther King Day let’s remember that discrimination, segregation and subjugation are not confined to race. There are millions of poor people of every race in America who are subject to inequality, exclusion and injustice every day. More Hawaii homeless information at No Shame Hawaii

Kean Salzer
October 24, 2017 at 2:54 pm


If you are still around let me know. I may have an opportunity for you.


January 29, 2015 at 10:49 pm for thought

I am writing this in response to discovering your site concerning homeless issues.

....I have been homeless here on Maui , it is hard , survival and resources are the most important things.The upset of having your place inspected is somewhat petty considering that these problems are larger than you or I as individuals, and I will continue with more relevance to the Humanitarian issues at hand rather than the isolated hurt feelings that should and would be negated with proper Appreciation and a desire to better Oneself personally.I have seen the video, I understand what,why, and how the inspections take place.It is simple, keep your place clean **you currently HAVE a place to be in, the issues that are currently buzzing about homelessness are varied and full of political avenues of beaurocracy, granted.

What EVERY truly homeless person needs is



*and access to opportunities for jobs, and/or other means to make money to simply survive.


-implement a "barter blanket". Where people can come and BARTER things of varied interest and needs.NO MONEY NEEDED. This is an old native American concept, where one could bring for example, a bag of rice and BARTER it for a pair of shoes, perhaps........ the opportunities present themselves.

*How about pushing for "Peddler's Licensing" -- there are many who can make wreaths and necklaces, and other things of interest that could generate supplemental income.I know a few people who have skills that are useful, and could help greatly - if there were an accepted area or a licensure for those individuals to sell the products they make.



Agape and Understanding, Creative ambitions and genuine people CAN make differences....

....I will be posting more blogs... will you post them?

It is larger than you or I as people..

but we can drive for something better if our Intentions are Agape , not agro......

ahui ho

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