Local Connection: Homeless Priorities

Local Connection: Homeless Priorities

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It seems the issue of homelessness doesn’t seem top of mind at this year’s legislature.

In the opening day speeches, not much was said and discussion of new ideas hasn’t been visible to the public – if they even exist.

Hopefully our leaders aren't patting themselves on back and declaring victory, yet.

While there has been some progress in some places – like Kapalama and the airport viaduct, the success has been with the easiest to serve: families, veterans and those homeless for economic reasons.

But the toughest ones are still out there – the chronically mentally ill, drug addicts and those who just prefer to live where they want without paying for housing.

It's a little disturbing to see that some of those folks have gotten so comfortable that they are actually trying to negotiate with the city to give them a "safe zone" – basically a permanent home – for free.

The legislature needs to work on these harder and even more expensive issues: treating and housing people with mental illness and substance addiction. Enforcement to keep public areas clear, and creative solutions to the housing crisis.

If these solutions aren’t in place soon, we’ll have almost no chance to stemming the flow of new people into the streets, faster than our ability to respond.

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