Hawaii's Institute for Human Services is planning to fly 120 homeless people living in Waikiki back to the mainland United States. The relocation is part of a $1.3 million public relations campaign to rid the state of homeless Americans and discourage poor people from coming to the 50th state.
The Institute for Human Services claims that the 120 people will be vetted to make sure they have a plan ready once they arrive on the mainland, reports CivilBeat.com.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Hawaii has just under 7,000 homeless people.
The rest of the $1.3 million will be spent on Waikiki’s homeless shelters, as well as medical and employment services.
“We found out that many [Waikiki homeless people] are transient who made a choice to become homeless, as well as people who became homeless shortly after arriving in Hawaii,” Kimo Carvalho, development and community relations manager of the Institute for Human Services, told CivilBeat.com.
“We are trying to do an aggressive public relations effort, trying to water down misinformation, basically not making Hawaii be an attractive destination to come and be homeless," added Carvalho. "We are not doing this to shift the homeless population around. That is not what we are doing at all."
However, Matthew Doherty of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, told CivilBeat.com, “I would be very concerned about whether relocating is resulting in people ending up in a stable, housed situation. If it only serves to relocate homeless to another community than we haven’t achieved any meaningful goal."
The Star Advertiser recently reported that the Honolulu Police Department mistakenly ticketed a man for sitting on a city bench under a new anti-homeless law.
The man was cited under the "sit-lie law," which forbids people from sitting or lying down on public sidewalks in the Waikiki Special Design District.
Sources: Star Advertiser, CivilBeat.com, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Image Credit: hellochris)