For those whose heads are still stuck in the sand about the dire consequences of overpopulation, consider Hawaii which has just declared a homeless emergency. Governor David Ige recently signed a proclamation to fight homelessness with the goal of helping young and old turn their lives around.
|There are too many people and not enough affordable housing in Hawaii.|
In his press release, Ige wrote that homelessness “remains a serious issue in every county throughout the state.” Not that long ago, Hawaii was paradise.
According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, Hawaii is the state with the highest per capita homeless rate; 487 out of every 100,000 residents are unsheltered. Only Washington, D.C. has a higher per capita rate. State homeless coordinator Scott Morishige said that between 2014 and 2015, Hawaii experienced a 23 percent increase in homelessness and, during the same period, a 46 percent increase in the number of unsheltered families.
Hawaii doesn’t have enough good jobs for its natives, and inadequate social programs to keep people well nurtured. Even the basics like housing are unavailable to an estimated 7,620 people. Nevertheless, immigration is a variable in Hawaii’s crisis. Census Bureau data shows that Hawaii’s Hispanic population is 10 percent; 23 percent of all persons are foreign-born, and 25 percent speak a language other than English at home.
Legislators devised a controversial plan to alleviate Hawaii’s homelessness. Last year, Hawaii’s Institute for Human Services began buying the homeless one-way tickets back to the mainland. Officially, the state said its new program was a way to reunite families, a new spin on a phrase familiar to immigration enforcement advocates. Skeptics, however, say that the free airfare promotion is intended to keep homeless people away from tourists.