You know, I really don’t know what to make of this.
New Bill To Give Homeless One-Way Ticket……out of Hawaii and back to where they came from.
Some Hawaii lawmakers said state government could save a lot of money if taxpayers funded one way plane tickets to send [the] homeless back to the Mainland.
Basically, for the those of you who don’t have time to follow the link, the idea is that Hawaii would use taxpayer money to ship out of state homeless folks back to the mainland. According the AP article about 40% of Hawaii’s homeless population is estimated to be from out of state.
When you read the logic behind the idea, well it seems to make sense. Sort of.
Basically the idea is that homeless are much more likely to become ex-homeless when they’re near friends and family that can provide support. Having never been homeless myself and having no real direct experience with the homeless, but having spent a lot of time in big cities and places where there are a lot of folks living on the streets, I suspect that this idea is one of those things that sounds good when definitively stated by “experts” but in reality is just total bullshit.
Plenty of folks, maybe even a majority, go homeless in close proximity to friends and family. Somehow I tend to doubt that shipping the homeless out of Hawaii and back to Smallville, USA is going to suddenly drop them into a supportive environment and a good paying job, find them an affordable room or cure their substance abuse problem or fix the mental health issues they suffer from.
No, I suspect they’ll just be homeless, only somewhere else.
Which, I suspect, is the general idea.
I suspect that despite high flown phrases, the intention here is less about altruism and a whole lot more about cleaning the undesirables out of Ala Moana park - because the last time I stayed on Waikiki Beach there were more homeless in Ala Moana Park than there were tourists. It’s pretty damned jarring and disturbing to visit paradise and be confronted with several hundred raggedy-assed homeless people encamped like refugees in the Congo next to one of the top ten beaches in the world, drunk and raving insane and pissing themselves in public and panhandling on the corners. They’re pretty damned hard to miss, there in in the middle of paradise, since the only way to get from the airport to the hotels in downtown Honolulu is along Ala Moana Boulevard. It really harshes your coconut oil to see it – not exactly good for the tourist trade, if you get my drift here.
Honolulu is a beautiful city, I’ve been there dozens of times, but every time I’ve visited, the homeless population is noticeably bigger and frankly this idea sounds an awful lot like deporting undesirables and dumping them on somebody else.
I’ve got to wonder though, how much it would cost to build decent facilities to house and help these people and get them off the street.
Would it cost as much as thousands of plane tickets to the mainland?
What’s your take on this?