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Living in Hawaii as Homeless

Hawaii homeless man with dog and dog food canI just read an article about the homeless problem in Hawaii being the 5th worst in the Nation. I’m wondering if anyone is surprised. Given Alaska or Hawaii, Nebraska or Hawaii, New York or Michigan or Hawaii to be living as homeless, and which state would you choose?

Homeless doesn’t mean dumb, it just means without a home. If I suddenly became homeless you know where I’d head?


And, why not? Who would continue to stay in New York City where it’s far more dangerous and cold than Hawaii – if he or she could afford a one-time ticket to get to Honolulu?

Are homeless wrong to do this? Of course not. Some writer (Jeremy Holcombe) is of the opinion that a homeless person in whatever state they become homeless in – should stay there, like they are incarcerated in that state and not to leave. Apparently he doesn’t think they should be able to move somewhere else!

Here, I’ll give you another article I just read: “Homeless in Hawaii Equals Not Too Bad…”

Should states check their borders for homeless people crawling across state lines at night?

Should someone have to prove good reasons for moving to Hawaii on a form given on the airplane before landing?

There are some (few) that choose to be homeless – it’s a choice any of us could make, though it isn’t attractive as a choice to many of us… to some it is. To some it’s a way of avoiding all the BS, the drama that accompanies living life in Hawaii – or living in the USA in general. Life in the USA is no picnic much of the time, and with the recent economic crisis I’ll wager the homeless population increased across the country considerably. Without researching, I’d guess that every state has a budget for homeless shelters and programs to feed them. It’s a cost that every state of the nation bears, some in higher numbers than others.

For those that either choose to be homeless or as a result of circumstances beyond their control at the time, become homeless and living in Hawaii it’s not a picnic either. Homeless residents in Hawaii pay about $1 per meal, and can get 3 meals per day. These aren’t Luau-style meals, but they’re pretty decent – as they should be. Do you agree?

A homeless person gets about $200 in food stamps each month to buy groceries with. I don’t believe alcohol or cigarettes can be bought with food stamps, but they trade $100 in foodstamps for $50 cash and go buy what they ‘need’. There are numerous shelters available in the islands and nobody is being turned away for a place to sleep. Healthcare is free – as it should be. Everyone in the USA should be treated with decent healthcare regardless of mental, economic, or addictive status.

To Jeremy Holcombe – this deal for the homeless is ‘not too bad’. I don’t know what basement of a bar Jeremy grew up in but to me – it’s pretty damn bad, it’s bad because it’s perpetuating the problem. If we want the homeless off the street we get rid of shelters where they can pop in and pop out, and we build low-income housing. You know what people live in here in Thailand? Basically concrete rooms. They’re happy as clams. It’s their own. They pay over 20-30 years about $6,000 for a villa with one big room in front, 2 bedrooms, and a kitchen in the back – along with the restroom. They eat on the floor and it’s quite all anyone needs. I know I need to go deeper with my plan for Hawaii’s homeless – maybe I’ll write it up later.

I understand Hawaii residents resent having to pay for homeless persons food, shelter, and healthcare. But, it’s all over the USA, not just Hawaii. There are thousands of homeless that move to Florida, California, and the other warmer states to avoid harsh winters – why not Hawaii? While you as a taxpayer might pay a few dollars per year in Hawaii State taxes that go to supporting the homeless, individuals that really care about the homeless situation are giving them $50-100 as they can, to help them a little more than the $200 in food stamps does.

Here’s some quick math based on Jeremy’s figure of $2 million…

1,288,000 Hawaii Residents (estimate 2008, infoplease.com/ipa/A0004986.html)

2,000,000 in Hawaii homeless expenses to the state

= < $2 taxes per person in Hawaii per year paying for the homeless men, women, and children to eat, stay somewhere safe, and have healthcare.

The more than 1.2 billion dollars in tax deficits is not because of Hawaii’s ridiculous numbers of homeless people. The deficit is because Hawaii’s government doesn’t know how to manage the state. Who was that guy from Texas that was running for President for a short while? Made his money in oil? Some savvy business guy, anyway, Hawaii needs someone like this guy to grab the reigns.

Hawaii’s problems are bigger than the meager homeless problem. Sure we’d like to blame someone that seems to be leeching off the rest of us – but, you know what?

There are bigger leeches – we elected them.

They’re living large and getting more than $200 a month food stamps.

Don’t you think?

Want to Move to Hawaii?

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About the author: Moving to Hawaii was one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done. I strongly encourage you to consider it if you’re in the financial position to do so. Living in Hawaii has a fair bit of both positive and negative experiences. Read some of the articles here and try to get a feel for whether you might thrive in the islands. Best of luck and life to you! Aloha!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kass

    Many tourist destinations are popular places for people to move to, but they fail to consider whether or not there are jobs in those beautiful places. Just because someone wants to live somewhere, doesn’t mean they are entitled to. If there are no jobs in your area, you have a responsibility to move to where you can find a job. Also, many people who live in Hawaii are tired of “friends” moving there and wanting a free place to stay. Again – yes, Hawaii is beautiful – but you aren’t entitled to live there just because you want to.

  • Wayne Vaughan

    I’m interested in moving to Hawaii permanently. I currently work at Walmart overnight stocker and am 55 years old. I am interested in transferring to Oahu at one of the stores. I’m not sure if others will hire a 55 year old white man who has worked hard all his life. I don’t want to freeze to death in Fairbanks. I wonder if things will work out for me in Honolulu if I transfer.

    • If you transfer – as in have a job waiting for you when you arrive, then you can probably make it work if you really want to. I dont’ know how many people are working at Walmart as a single person and living alone and paying for all their expenses on their own. I’d guess that most people making low income jobs are living with other people. Have you thought about whether you could do that? Find a roommate, live in a room in a house for $400-500 per month? Check Craigslist and see what rooms are going for. Last time I looked it was around $500 in Waikiki. Probably cheaper a bit. Anyway, I’m not saying don’t go. But, do plan very well and have a fall-back plan in case it all goes south. Cheers!

  • big jake

    why do people become homeless gee is it that the were layed off
    becuse of age health cost or because their type of work they perform was nolonger needed???
    at any rate there is a babie being born every sec. here in the USA
    hmm at that rate it’s scarry. The corperations have an endless supply of replacements who are waiting in line for your job be it
    pushing a lawn mower or working at the local court house.
    whatever made you think you were going to recieve pension down the
    road. bet you get laid off before you get a chance to collecting
    that pension. hmm you will also lose your health coverage too.
    hmm welcome the the brother frances shelter.

  • Maria

    If you really think about it, the earth provides for us, it’s the government that takes from us and put chemicals in our food that gives us cancer. They did not create this world, they just took it. It belongs to us. Thank you

  • Ponzi Scheme

    Quote: “Healthcare is free – as it should be. Everyone in the USA should be treated with decent healthcare regardless of mental, economic, or addictive status.”

    Well now, who should pay for the doctors and nurses providing that health care? How about the clinics, hospitals, drugs, scientists creating the drugs, manufacturers making MRI machines and ultra sound scanners and X-Ray machines, and on and on and on and on and on.

    Fact is you are right: healthcare should be free, and the temperature should always be 80 degrees, food should grow everywhere, disease should not exist, work should not exist, bad people should not exist, and on and on and on and on and on.

    But the good lord, for whatever reason made a different world where suffering, sacrifice, pain, misery and death are the default circumstances for humans UNLESS THEY GET OFF THEIR BUTTS AND WORK TO PROVIDE FOR THEMSELVES. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is. Actually to say that “I don’t like it” is the understatement of all time.

    • mrskailuakona

      Couldn’t agree with you any more you said it best Ponzi Scheme. I just read your post two years later Hawaii spends 54 million dollars on food stamps, low income housing & Quest free insurance for every person that sets foot in the Aloha State. It add up now the food stamp benefit is $315.00 per person. One mother with a baby will get $650.00 plus another $300.00 in ca$h assistance. Why work? Pretty soon the Aloha State will be bankrupt like California. Quest Insurance is given to every child & adult that walks in Hawaii.

      Like you said maybe every single person living in Hawaii needs to quit their job then apply for benefits? Run out of food stamps? No worries. Just show up at a grocery store get what you need never paying the grocery bill. Need a car? No worries. Drive one of the dealership with not paying a dime. Need housing? No worries just ask to see the place then move in without paying right? Need gas for your car? Drive to a convenient store just fill up then drive away. Alo HA

  • Anthony

    Totally awesome review. Some people truly don’t appriciate how america puts you in the place of being homeless and doesn’t look at the true leaches ruining our economy-the polititians. Not to mention judgemental fundamentalist fools that judge the people in that situation instead of using logic to find the true culprits and try to keep the homeless down so they can feel superior and holier than thou.

    • Thanks Anthony. When I read that article, about the homeless having an easy time of it in Hawaii I had to offer some counter-balance to it.

  • stoshw

    I am one of those G– D— homeless people living on Diamond Head. I don’t leave my trash blowing around in the trees. Been their 4 years and I am just trying to go along with Mufi’s policy on the homeless, OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND.
    Here is a way to get more affordable housing in Waikiki. We organize the homeless to hassle all the tourist. If we run off enough of them the hotels will all go bankrupt and there will be all those empty rooms.
    What da think Waikiki Business People?

    PS I work, I pay taxes and I still vote Mr. Djou.