Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Helping homeless get home or free vacation?

Rep. Rida Cabanilla's proposed bill, HB 1187, which would create a Return-to-Home program for homeless from the mainland living in Hawaii, passed out of Housing Committee.

The proposed measure would help people who have found themselves homeless after coming to Hawaii from the mainland return to their home state and their families. The program would be voluntary, and the bill requests an appropriation of $75,000.

Majority of written testimony on this bill was in support; however, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority highlighted repercussions of a well-intended bill.

"We caution that it may have the unintended effect of increasing the number of homeless persons entering Hawaii, once it is known that a person who gets here on their own will be able to get transportation back home provided by the State. We are concerned that some may misuse this program to take a 'free vacation' to Hawaii."

The public housing authority makes a good point. Could these be possible scenarios?

Wayne from Wisconsin: "I really want to live in Hawaii. Should I buy a one-way ticket to Hawaii without sufficient income or a job lined up to "see if I can make it out here"? Heh, why not? It's always sunny and I could probably find a job. If I don't, and end up homeless, the State would be able to send me back home anyway."

Mindy from Maine: "If I only had enough money for a round-trip ticket to Hawaii, I could vacation there all summer! What law? They have a Return-to-Home program? So if I tell them that I'm stranded and homeless, they'll send me back to the states. Right on!"

Of course these are gross exaggerations, but getting more "risk-takers" traveling to Hawaii could be an unintended consequence of a Return-to-Home program.

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority recommended amending the measure to limit the Return-to-Home program to families with minor children who are stranded on the islands.

As HB 1187 continues through the legislative process, lawmakers will have to look at the possibility of people abusing the program and other unintended consequences that could make futile the good intent of the proposed bill.


Doug said...

Is it possible that a person could abuse this policy to get a free return trip? Sure, I suppose. is it likely? No.

This strikes me as a novel version of the Reagan-era "welfare queen" panic. i.e. Some find it better to deny all those who may benefit to ensure that absolutely nobody "cheats."

At least this bill makes a bit more sense than her never-gonna-happen tunnel across the mouth of Pearl Harbor...

Anonymous said...

The good thing about this bill is that if it does succeed, we all know that the intent was for the homeless and not so they could get a "free trip". it's up to their discretion if they will do what the bill was intended for or just slack off and travel w/ the people's money

Anonymous said...

Too many come to our home state thinking grass is greener , , 1 BIG PROMBLEM IS SQUATTERS on the beaches and parks , we are law abiding people we wenjoy camping , which requires a PERMIT , So many refuse to get a permit , enforce the law if some get permits every one can , we donot appreciate them at our camp site they often drink fight violent behavior , , 1ST THING ON PERMIT NO ALCOHOL IIN PARK THERES SIGNS state in parks no dogs no alcohol people break the law , what good is these signs .. Why can;t some get permits perhaps feleny or bad histroy People all walks love to camp But respect others when at there camp sites .

Anonymous said...

Hawaiians give them their land they should come first , 2ndly Micronians well STUPID America owes them not all are bad , But us tax payers and hard working tired of supporting other peoples medical , diapers etc .. NO FREE RIDES IN LIFE MUCHER FREE LOADERS NO GOOD

Anonymous said...

The Mayor and Lingle Lingle a disgrace , CORRUPT REMOVE THEM .

Anonymous said...

HAWAII GOING DOWN SO CORRUPT WE NATIVES IN Hawaii take the crap , fed up wqith it , People who donot like IT HERE PLEASE LEAVE . Not all homeless are drug users , alocholics some lost their mate live on a pension , social security at any givin time a person can lose job or there place .