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Doran J. Porter, executive director of the Affordable Housing and Homeless Alliance, believes more and more homeless encampments like the one behind Waipahu High School are springing up on Oahu as Honolulu police and city officials continue to push Oahu's homeless off of beaches and out of city parks.
HONOLULU, Dec. 4 — When the home she had rented for 30 years for $300 a month was sold, Alice Greenwood and her 6-year-old son joined an estimated 1,000 people living in tents along the 13 miles of beaches on the Waianae Coast of Oahu.
Hawaii’s economy has been strong in the last two years, and the state consistently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. The real estate market has skyrocketed along with the job growth, and houses on the Waianae Coast that rented for $200 or $300 a month a couple of years ago are now advertised for more than $1,000.
Honolulu's homeless demographic — on the streets and in shelters — is changing. The University of Hawaii's Center on the Family estimates the city's homeless street population has shifted from being 21 percent Caucasian in 2005 to more than 43 percent today.
Many are single, middle-aged men from the mainland, like former computer programmer Gary Titleman.
"Well, I was kind of homeless in Flagstaff and Prescott [Arizona], and a guy told me that you could go to Hawaii for $150, so I had some savings and bought a ticket," he says.
He chooses to work odd jobs at minimum wage. Soon it will be time to move on.
"Well, I may go to Alaska during the summer," he said. "Also go back to the mainland. I'm originally from Virginia, but I moved out West a while back. So who knows?"
Connie Mitchell says the resource drain caused by newly arrived single male transients is getting more acute. She says Hawaiian lawmakers need to develop policies to address this problem.
"I think that we really need to begin to look at who's really homeless — not by choice and by misfortune — and who's really homeless by choice, and have a different solution for the two different populations."
Originally posted by airspoon
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