Homeless night on the beach Part 2 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Homeless night on the beach Part 2

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

NORTH SHORE (KHNL) - Nearly 15,000 people in Hawaii have no place to stay.

They are people and families who seem easy to forget or pass by on the street, but you may not look at them the same way after you spend the night with them.

"How you doing?" asked Joe, KHNL photographer.

"What time is it?" I asked.

"10 to 5 a.m.," said Joe.

"All I hear are roosters," I said.

It only takes one night of living on the beach to see what you must do without.

Instead of a sink, we use a water bottle to brush our teeth and nature replaces high tech gadgets we've grown to love.

"What's up with the roosters at 5 o'clock in the morning?" I asked.

"That's our alarm clock," said Paka.

As many as 130 people sleep in the Haleiwa Boat Harbor parking lot each night.

Paka, who's 25, works at a furniture store. Most of his money goes towards supporting his kids.

"Are you ashamed of being homeless?" I asked.

"Who me? Nah, my brother," said Paka. "It's life, you gotta do what you gotta do. It all depends on choices you making."

"Are you getting the buttons down? Are all the buttons down?" asked Paka.

At sunrise, it's time to pack up and go to the beach. Another day away from home and on the road. They could stay here at the boat harbor all day, but out of respect for boaters, the group leaves.

The individual roads to homelessness are as varied as they are as people.

"Everyone has their own story, everyone's story is not the same. My story is I got hurt at work and I couldn't afford my rent," said Ulu.

"My pancreas has failed, I'm diabetic, I have high blood pressure, I have something with the heart we're trying to find that out," said Frank.

Frank starts the day with about 30 different morning medications and shots.

Medical problems keep him from working and lack of money keeps him on the street.

Because he's disabled, he gets under $500 a month from the government. While he's thankful for it, he finds himself trapped with no where to go. He has sleep apnea and a machine to help, but not enough money for a generator to power it.

"I wake up everyday, I look hammered," said Frank.  "I feel really tired, weak."

A good nights sleep would be a luxury, and yet it is understanding that is he asking for the most.

He and others we meet this day are tired of people ignoring them or worse, treating them with scorn.

"What do they say to you?" I asked.

"They scream out get a life, they scream out get a job," said Ulu. "We've had little kids with their parents in the front driving and they scream out Homeless sucks! I just turn around and say yes it does!"

Up to 42 percent of Hawaii's homeless are employed full-time. These are people who don't settle for poverty, they just come up short in the struggle to live in a state where the cost of living can be crippling.

"Any person that gets off the beach, we're happy," said Ulu.  "We're happy for them, it might not be our time to get off the beach but one less person on the beach is rewarding."

They dream of the day when life could really be a day at the beach.

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