Homeless For Too Long - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

November 2, 2015

Think About It: Homeless For Too Long

As the unenlightened game of "whack-a-mole" continues as a fundamental part of the city and state government's efforts to supposedly eliminate homelessness, the obvious keeps occurring. It's "Groundhog Day", the sequel, as the same things keep happening over and over. Put in a sit/lie law, and the homeless simply move to an unrestricted area. Clean up the Kaka`ako encampment, and many homeless simply move over a few blocks away. And they get kindly told they'll have three weeks to move again.

It shouldn't have taken even this long for emergency measures to come forth. This emergency has been with us for decades. It was apparent in the days of the A`ala Park shelters in the 1980s and the leeward beaches being overrun at times in the 1990s and 2000s. But obviously, now that homelessness can be seen quite plainly in Honolulu in Kaka`ako, Kaimuki, Kalihi, and Waikiki every day, amazingly, action is slowly being taken as city and state officials stop playing the avoidance game and stop doing the "it's your problem or property" pass off.

Why it has taken this long to work on details of housing first initiatives and public private housing deals has simply been a measure of political will and lack thereof. Sure, it's a difficult problem, but there are numerous examples nationwide and worldwide, like in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, that could have provided clues if only more people in positions to care really did care, and then act.  Now, finally, maybe we can get some of these nascent plans to move people from homeless to hopeful to home full. Think about it…

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