An article for the local paper.
When I read articles in the Honolulu Star Advertiser about how people are angry about how homeless people are making “paradise” look shabby, I start to get a sense of dread. Was it not too long ago that similar letters sent to our local politicians and to the newspapers prompted the City Council to throw away the tents of homeless people? I remember seeing numerous homeless people soaking wet, distraught and bereft, after an unsheltered night in the pouring rain. By the way, how much do you think the cost is to the tax payer, when they get sick and need to be admitted to the hospital?
Everyone has their rights in this country, including the right to free speech, but if the solution to the “problem” of homelessness is to treat them as if they have no rights, then you are in the wrong country.
Before you spend any time writing a letter bemoaning the loss of paradise, please do us all a favor. Spend one sleepless night walking around those 24 hour spots where the homeless seem to congregate. Do you want their life? Endlessly chased from one spot to the next, being told not to close your eyes or sleep. Having to sit up all the time or risk being ousted from area. Getting dirty looks from strangers and evoking titters of laughter from teenagers.
You can end homelessness, for at least a few. Volunteer at a shelter and make sure that the residents are being treated fairly. Drop off unneeded clothing in a spot where homeless people frequent. Talk to your friends and family about homeless people in a manner that respects that, they too, are human. Strike up a conversation with a homeless person that seems like they need a friend (decline requests for money or favors, if they make you uncomfortable, but just listen to what they have to say). When people are treated well, sometimes they find the strength to turn their own lives around.
If you think that all homeless people are just an eye-sore and a burden on the system, you need to stop thinking of Hawaii as the Aloha State; because it isn’t, thanks to you.
- Legislation gives incentives for hiring homeless (fox13now.com)
- VIDEO: Guiding homeless to another path (bbc.co.uk)
- WPD Homeless Task Force Hits The Streets (kake.com)