Hawaii sets aside $100,000 to offer its 17,000 homeless people one-way airfare back to their home states

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Hawaii is hoping to take the burden off its welfare system by saying aloha to its 17,000 homeless residents.

The state will offer one-way tickets home to any eligible homeless person to anywhere in the continental United States.

Hawaii has allotted $100,000 for a three year trial run of the so-called ‘return-to-home’ program, which could also even offer participants beds on cruise ships bound for their homes.

Aloha: A man sleeps near Waikiki Beach, in 2011 in Honolulu. The state of Hawaii is poised to begin is 'return-to-home' program, which will give eligible homeless people one-way tickets back to the families on the mainlandAloha: A man sleeps near Waikiki Beach, in 2011 in Honolulu. The state of Hawaii is poised to begin is ‘return-to-home’ program, which will give eligible homeless people one-way tickets back to the families on the mainland

The sum set aside for the program may sound like a lot, but supporters say most of the state’s homeless won’t be taking advantage.

‘It’s fractional,’ state Representative John Mizuno told Hawaii News Now. ‘It’s not for 5,000 homeless people. It’s going to be a handful of homeless people that we send home … to their support unit.’

 

The goal, supporters say, is to take pressure off the state’s overburdened shelter system.

Representative Rida Cabanilla told Honolulu Civil Beat that her decision to support the program came down to simple math.

Worth it? 'Return-to-home' supporters say, even as they spend money on supportive programs and tickets to the mainland, the state will save on shelter, food, and medical costsWorth it? ‘Return-to-home’ supporters say, even as they spend money on supportive programs and tickets to the mainland, the state will save on shelter, food, and medical costs

Even if a homeless individual comes back to Hawaii after only months away, Cabanilla said, the state would still have saved thousands on food, shelter, and medical costs.

But with 2,500 miles of Pacific Ocean seperating the Aloha State from the mainland, chances are lawmakers are banking on the ‘return-to-home’ aloha to be a permanent one.

Nonetheless, that doesn’t have all the state’s officials lining up behind the program.

‘The administrative requirements…are costly and administratively burdensome,’ spokeswoman Kayla Rosenfeld for the state Department of Human Services, the agency charged with running the program, told MSN News Tuesday.

Good for who? Detractors say its would just be a reshuffling and that the homeless won't be helped, only pawned off on other jurisdictionsGood for who? Detractors say its would just be a reshuffling and that the homeless won’t be helped, only pawned off on other jurisdictions

‘Provisions include: transportation to the airport, orientation regarding airport security and ensuring proper hygiene. Additionally, if state funds were utilized for the purpose of sending people home, the participants would berequired to sign voluntary departure agreements that would need to be recorded in databases.’

With so much involved in the program, its no suprise that the very agency put in charge of the program has its reservations.

But reservations, on a plane anyway, are exqactly what any qualifying homeless person currently residing in Hawaii could soon have.

The voluntary program allows interested individuals who have people willing to support them back at home, who cannot afford to return on their own, and who are indigent to fly home on the state’s dime.

They may not participate more than once.

A similar program was implemented in New York City in 2007 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other cities have used the tactic over the years.

‘These kinds of  programs have been used historically to ship homeless people out of town,’ Michael Stoops, from the National Coalition for the Homeless told MSN. ‘In the homelessness field it was once called greyhound therapy. Hawaii now goesa step higher with airplane therapy. Oftentimes local police departments run such programs offering the stark choices of going to a shelter, jail or hopping on a bus or plane home.’

Source: Daily Mail

One Response

  1. I think the travelers aid program in Hawaii giving people a one way ticket to any destination in the the contenental U.S. to reduce the welfare rows is an excellent idea. Alaska should adopt a similar program. Every day I drive by the department of social services the parking lot is full of cars every day of the week. The homeless shelters are full to capacity. There are homeless people staying at the homeless shelters that are working at these 10 to 12 dollar an our jobs in these retail box stores that cannot afford to rent a 1300 dollar a month 2 bedroom apartments in Anchorage. The propaganda machine in Washington are telling people that the economy is improving. That is a hoax. The real definition of the state of the economy is that the U.S. is in a inflationary depression. Stagflation. Price inflation wage deflation with a surplus industrial army of the unemployed and part time workers. The only people that are benefiting from wage deflation is corporate America. Their profits have never been better, while the disposable income of those working is getting less. As a result the middle class is shriking. The Washington spin doctors keep blowing smoke up people’s asses because they are in the hip pockets of special interest. The predatory and monopoly capitalist are diggers of their own graves. There are more people on food stamps than there are working. The true statistics do not lie, but liers lie. There is almost a 17 trillion dollar national debt, a trade deficit in the billions and less tax revenues coming in to service the debt. All this adds up to bankruptsy. Whithout major political and economic reforms, the U.S. is headed for a financial and economic collapse.

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