Local Connection: Helping those who don't want help

Local Connection: Helping those who don't want help

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The most difficult thing about helping the homeless is that some of them don't want help.

We recently reported on the sad case of an elderly woman on a wheelchair who chose a busy sidewalk near the Wailana apartments as her place to be.

Her presence was upsetting to some residents and neighboring businesses - who seemed concerned about the welfare of both the lady and their property.

But despite bystanders' concerns that she seemed to have serious health and hygiene issues, she told our reporter firmly and clearly she really didn't need help, she was content where she was, and was only on the street until she got her monthly government support.

You have to admire her spirit.

She was standing up for the same freedoms we all treasure - to go where we want, and make our own decisions about our own lives - even to a right to choose to neglect ourselves.  We don't want the government to bother us - especially if we aren't doing anything wrong.

We've been reassured that the woman is on the radar screen of a number of people and agencies that are ready to help her when she's ready to be helped.  Less reassuring is the knowledge that there are many people just like her on the streets.

We've often expressed frustration at government inaction but she represents the kind of complex challenges associated with homelessness that will demand our patience, resources and compassion.

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