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Hawaii lawmakers give homeless one-way tickets off island

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Although “aloha” can also be used to say “hello,” Hawaii’s heavily Democratic legislature only wants to use it to wave “goodbye” to the state’s many thousands of homeless residents.

Hawaii House Vice-Speaker John Mizuno introduced the state’s “Return to Home” program, seeded with a $100,000 annual budget, that will provide one-way tickets off the islands to the homeless. It’s “billed as a way to help the state’s 17,000 homeless residents, while reducing the financial burden the state has in caring for them,” according to Fox News.

It’s hard to fathom how they’re helping those homeless who call, say, Minnesota or North Dakota home — but that could be just me.

Fox News reported:

Critics, though, say the program is a quick fix and does nothing to address the root causes of homelessness.

Patricia McManaman, director of the Department of Human Services – the agency tasked with implementing the program — told lawmakers she had reservations about the plan to send the state’s homeless away and questioned the program’s funding. She also had a problem with language in the bill that suggests homeless people are in need of “sufficient personal hygiene” in order to travel – something she calls an “unnecessary and inappropriate stereotype.”

Mizuno attempted to get a similar proposal approved in 2010. When it failed, he took the unprecedented step of soliciting funds to do it on a smaller scale — a case-by-case basis, and Mizuno himself reportedly paid for the return of one homeless person to Seattle.

This time his bill squeaked by in an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. The House has 44 Democrats to 7 Republicans; the Senate has but one Republican to 24 Democrats, according to Wikipedia.

This plan has been tried before. In the summer of 2009, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg purchased one-way bus and train tickets home for the city’s homeless.

When it’s suggested we deport undocumented immigrants who cross our borders illegally, Democrats howl and call it “cruel.” When Democrats ship U.S. citizens to another state, it’s referred to as a “return to home” and considered a humanitarian gesture.


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