Living in Hawaii as Homeless

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Hawaii homeless man with dog and dog food canI just read an article about the homeless problem in Hawaii being the 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…

1,420,000 Hawaii Residents (

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?

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About the Author:

I’ve lived Hawaii since the mid ‘80s when I moved here at the age of 21. I arrived site-unseen in Honolulu with zero contacts and about $5k in savings. I worked from nearly zero and today Hawaii has given me the greatest gifts in the world in all aspects: spiritually, financially, romantically (married since early ‘90s w/ 2 children), and most important, peace. My goal with this site is to share the magic of this Land of Aloha and help others who are on a similar quest.


  1. Bran 11/06/2018 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    It’s crazy to read this and think that “if I am going to be homeless, be homeless in paradise”. Hawai’i is know for being a paradise state, vacation state, escape from reality, and don’t get me wrong, I love it here. But the amount of homeless people is ridiculous and sad. This article is not helping at all. There is homeless all over the world, yet choose Hawaii to be homeless? I personally think it’s a bad choice. Once you’re homeless here, it is really tough to pull yourself out. Everything is expensive here. People who are not homeless are on the verge of it. All our beautiful rich houses are owned by people who don’t even live on the island. They live in the mainland. Cheapest studio is around $1000 and that’s in a “ghetto” unsafe area. If you can’t afford that, forget it, because security deposit is due too. That’s not including any utilities. So even if you maintain a minimum wage job, you still can’t afford living here on your own. Now I read someone say “at least the homeless can keep the tourists away”, How dare you. Homeless people aren’t displayed to scare our tourists. In fact, even though I am not of a fan of tourists, they really are a big reason why Hawaii still operates. Most of the people in Hawaii that are homeless, didn’t choose this. They were unable to continue getting by in life with economy and the system defeated them. So if you “choose” to be homeless, “choose” a different damn state. Because at least you have a better chance to pull yourself out of the hole since you do it “just for fun”. Real homeless people here have real issues, no family that wants to help because they have to support their own little family, they barely get by themselves, mental issues that can’t be helped, can’t even get a job etc.

  2. right2fiction 01/05/2018 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    Sounds like living or even visiting Hawaii sucks. All I’ve been reading is homeless people giving worthless excuses.for their existence. People must make their own way through life without relying on others to do it for them. If you’re homeless, you put yourself there. Don’t blame anyone but yourself for your failures in life.

    • Peter Kay 01/06/2018 at 10:19 am - Reply

      General stats on homeless show that 1/3 are going through tough times and will soon be back “on their feet”. 1/3 are mentally ill (and IMO we as a society should have the decency to care for them in an appropriate facility) and 1/3 are vagrants that reject assistance. There may be more ways to slice this but these general numbers are supported by most experts in this field.

    • Zed 06/06/2018 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      Wow right2fiction get off your high horse! An excuse for their existence? Homeless people aren’t making excuses for being homeless. Most of them just want to be left alone to live their life, to find a job and pay their bills without the outrageous living expenses for housing on the island. Live and let live. Most homeless people clean up after themselves, obey the law, and are contributing to the society. They’re not burdens, thiefs, or out the vandalize. I hope you’re religious and whatever deity you believe in smacks you down off your pedestal and opens your judgemental eyes

  3. Melissa Pasadava 12/08/2017 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    No way don’t come here. I’m a homeless native family and we get harassed everyday. If it’s not one thing it’s another. Right now my husband works and I am not due to a health condition that I am trying to get under control. At least my older children are grown up and doing hopefully better than here. The cost of living is 360%. Hope you can afford that. Good luck to you.

  4. macky 09/28/2017 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Hawaii has its own local homeless. We dont need more outside bums.

  5. Anna Reeves 04/12/2016 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    I am homeless in Hawaii right now. I am on the Big Island and there are two shelters and they are full and I can’t get in. Yes if you are going to be homeless I would agree Hawaii is a good place to be, however it has been 2 years and I can get un homeless…… I was born here and I wish I could go anywhere else that would help me more than this state….that is sad

  6. pablo g 03/22/2016 at 10:25 am - Reply

    I am moving back to da kine, ex army there 8 awesome years… Not going with alot of $$$$$ but with alot of Aloha. Wish me luck..

  7. Aloha 10/27/2015 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Something hardly anyone knows, or mentions anyways… Is that other states have programs in which they offer their homeless residents one way tickets to Hawai’i as a means of controling their OWN homeless problem.

    You can imagine that a state that is already unbelievably hard to get by financially in is even harder to get by in when locals have to pay extra in taxes to pay for people to live off of them.

    Another little known fact, is that a large portion of homeless in Hawai’i are micronesians who are not even American citizens, but are allowed to live in, work in, and collect welfare benefits in America as an agreement between America and Micronesia since America used their nation for bombing practice. Sooo a lot of Micronesians move to Hawai’i because it reminds them of their island home, and collect welfare and live in tent cities where on top of living off American tax payers, they run extension cords from businesses that are closed for the night, and beach outlets used by state employees for park maintenance. Ive seen micronesian tent cities with flat screen tvs, stoves, refrigerators, couches, and dish satellites. Its not fair to Hawai’i citizens that we have to pay welfare for people who arent even American citizens. also, im not sire if this is true, but someone told me that the Micronesians who,actually DO work, dont have to pay taxes… Wtf?!?

    • Jacob Eberhardt 12/01/2015 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      not true. burlington and vegas offered tkts to anywhere in the country and these programs were found to be illegal in US court.

      • Jacob Eberhardt 12/01/2015 at 7:47 pm - Reply

        PS Arrived homeless in Hawaii and have been working, paying rent, taxes, and living a good life for the eight years I have been here.

  8. Thomas 10/04/2015 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Sky high rents, lack of affordable housing, greed at it’s worse, the government should turn over some of it’s miltary housing for the homeless, since the government has created much of the homeless problem, allowing illegal aliens into this country, not giving U.S. companies tax breaks so these companies go over seas causing more unemployment, what is happening with the homeless in Hawaii is happening all over America, and things will not get better as refugees from the Middle East will soon be coming to America to get away from Isis . I hope that I never will be homeless, but if I were to be homeless I’d rather be homeless in Hawaii than some mainland hell hole like Detroit with it’s brutal street gangs or Phoenix Arizona with it’s 120 degree heat in the Summer and city park water fountains turned off and a brutal tent city prison where some homeless end up !

  9. Bill 09/30/2015 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    God created this world for all of us. I will live where ever I want to. I will always clean up after myself.
    Albany NY is a septic tank filled with people who walk over top the same garbage they threw down the day before. I am tired of the filth and freezing winters. The taxes are killing businesses and the rich keep getting richer because they are all into politics and government. They don’t seem to care about who’s suffering. I’m sleeping in a tent now so I might as well be on the beach. I always work no matter where I’m living.

  10. jjb 09/23/2015 at 9:16 am - Reply

    seems like the locals think they are a seperate entity from the us. Karma will kill you and your loved ones for judging anyone harshly. not to mention judging the poor and afflicted. shame on you family line past and present. I curse you for your disregard for your brothers and sisters.

  11. Mike 08/27/2015 at 9:36 am - Reply

    keep your area around you clean.

  12. Lauri 07/29/2015 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    I moved to Hawaii with 3 jobs and a place to live with a friend while I got on my feet. Meanwhile, before my first paycheck, the friend threw me and my children out for no reason other than she changed her mind. There are no shelters that don’t have wait lists. There is no free anything. I can’t go to work because I have no where for the kids to go while I work. I was working for the largest law firm in the state until my abusive ex (who lives on the mainland) found out and called until I was fired. The DV shelters won’t help because he is not in Hawaii. So no, homeless in Hawaii is not the jewel you are making it out to be.

  13. Kass 08/10/2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    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.

    • mike 07/05/2016 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      Sure i do…I’m an American. !!!!

    • Mimi 09/05/2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

      I wish I could give 1 gazillion thumbs up !

  14. Wayne Vaughan 06/11/2014 at 3:24 am - Reply

    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.

    • Vern 06/11/2014 at 9:07 am - Reply

      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!

    • Aloha 10/27/2015 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      I dont see how you could live off of one paycheck by yourself in Hawai’i. Most locals work multiple jobs, and live with family or friends to get. Hawai’i has one of the highest costs of living, one paycheck alone wont cut it. And also, I know people who tried transferring to walmart from the mainland and there simply were no open positions, especially as stock. With few jobs in Hawai’i, those jobs where no degree is needed go really fast. Good luck though.

    • Everett Garcelon 01/06/2016 at 9:14 pm - Reply

      Yes I think you should leave Fairbanks and go to Honolulu. People feel better in Hawaii always

  15. big jake 03/22/2014 at 6:22 am - Reply

    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.

  16. Maria 03/28/2013 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    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

    • mike 07/05/2016 at 5:01 pm - Reply


  17. Ponzi Scheme 02/04/2011 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    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 02/10/2013 at 12:06 am - Reply

      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

      • Robert Halter 07/13/2017 at 5:42 am - Reply

        oh how bitter you sound.
        i know of only 2 who sounded so bitter ….. and unable to speak the truth, like you!

        Both are now found mentally incompetent and not allowed to live in their own home.

        You have lost your way! But you still have time to change your ways! Your EGO is a dumbass …..every ego is that ~
        but you could give up your ego for your true identity! Turn QUICKLY before you too are found mentally incompetent

    • Mimi 09/05/2016 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      True that ! Amen ! Pity people don’t understand. Imagine if every one had the same logic : we would all be sitting in vain on our butts expecting others to fend for us.

  18. Anthony 08/25/2010 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Vern 08/25/2010 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      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.

  19. stoshw 05/14/2010 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Aloha 10/27/2015 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      Personally, I think everyone would appreciate the homeless scaring off the tourists (except the governmet of course :) because they are under the influence that the only thing Hawai’i has to offer is being a tourist destination). Hawai’i would be a better AND cheaper place to live without tourists.

      • Aloha 10/27/2015 at 6:37 pm - Reply

        Ps: if thats your daughter in the pic below… Caaaayuuutie pie. Errr even if shes not your daughter, cuuuute lol

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