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Home of the Homeless: Honolulu, Hawaii
Number 3 in Homeless States
Coming to Honolulu, Hawaii in November is the international Asia-Pacific summit. President Obama will attend as will many other of the world's leaders. Since the city will be in the public view then, Honolulu is wrestling with a large public relations problem-the homeless.
Hawaii has the third worse homeless problem in America, behind Nevada and Oregon. Most of them hang out on the beaches at Waikiki and in the parks along the infamous beach (created by sand in the 60's from LA beaches. Waikiki area is actually a coral reef and you will be stepping on it only 50 yds from shore). Hundreds of homeless people walk the Honolulu streets, idle time at bus stops and crash on the beach for the night. While the problem has always been there, the economy has greatly made it worse. Lack of jobs in the service industry and cost of living have made normal people sacrifice all. Those with bad luck become homeless. Honolulu and Hawaii has high housing costs and below average wages. A simple two bedroom apartment costs $1700 (in most other places it is around $1000 or so) and the city's average wage is $834 a week. Most of the jobs pay $8-12 hr. Many of the homeless are from the mainland and arrived with money and support until they got things going. But time played against many on the gamble, money ran out, no jobs, created the homeless situation. Many are just normal people who failed for a variety of reasons with the ending result of homeless. The homeless shelters are overwhelmed and often not healthy situations to sleep in. Some of them have pitched tents in public parks as well.
Honolulu is trying to clean up the scene by a multi-faceted approach by offering job training, creating more transitional housing, job placement that is subsidized, and medical care to those who need it. They have close parks but the homeless army simply find another spot.
It is sad to see another human being in such disarray especially in paradise. Each of their stories are different. It could be you or me if a series of bad luck and events happen. That is the real scare.
For them, paradise has turned to hell.