Local Connection: Helping Hawaii's Homeless - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: Helping Hawaii's Homeless

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By: Rick Blangiardi

Aloha, you know it certainly surprises to learn that hundreds of the homeless in Hawaii have come here in just the past two years.

New statistics show that 849 homeless came to Hawaii between July 2012 and June 2013 and another 615 homeless arrived between July 2013 and last June. Now reporter Jim Mendoza reported that at this time of year homeless will actually call shelters to find out if there is space available because it is too cold in the mainland.

Now the Institute for Human Services tells those people who call, "they provide service in emergency situations and not for those wanting a better and more comfortable situation in Hawaii." But has it come down to the fact that we have become too accommodating in the Aloha State? Have we become too attractive a destination for the homeless who know they will have a place to stay when they get here? 

Local social service agencies are doing all they can to house the homeless with the help of the state and the city and more focus has been placed on this issue than ever before. And the city council members have even approved laws that ban sitting or lying on public sidewalks in Waikiki and 15 business districts from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Now opponents of this bill say this is inhuman and have held protests but restrictions must apply so the truly needy among us can get back on their feet with the proper housing and rehabilitation, rather than taking advantage of our hospitality and consequently making homelessness a permanent state of affairs in Hawaii.

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