The Aloha State is saying goodbye to some of its homeless residents with one-way tickets to the Lower 48.
According to Civil Beat, Hawaii’s Institute for Human Services (IHS) is launching a $1.3 million initiative to fight homelessness, but parts of the plan have raised some eyebrows. The state is aiming to fly 120 homeless people living in Waikiki, a tourist hotspot in Honolulu, back to the continental U.S., while also allocating funds for a public relations campaign discouraging homeless people living on the mainland from moving to the state — a move some say contradicts Hawaii’s usual warm welcome to visitors.
“We found out that many (Waikiki homeless) are transient who made a choice to become homeless, as well as people who became homeless shortly after arriving in Hawaii,” Kimo Carvalho, development and community relations manager for IHS, told Civil Beat. He noted a glamorized and inaccurate depiction of homelessness in Hawaii has enticed many individuals to choose that lifestyle over other options, causing problems for Waikiki businesses that have argued homelessness in the area hurts tourism.