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Lawmakers in the Aloha State want to wave goodbye to their growing homeless population -- by buying them a one-way ticket off the island. Hawaii's controversial three-year “Return to Home” pilot program launches later this year and is being 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. Under the plan, the state will pay for a one-way plane ticket for any homeless resident who can find someone on the mainland to take them in.
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.”
But Mizuno argues it’s time the state get on board with a plan that he claims can help up to 100 homeless Hawaiians a year.
City commissioners in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recently green-lighted a $25,000 program to get the homeless out of their area. Funding for The Homeless Reunification Program is taken out of the Florida Law Enforcement Trust Fund, which is made up of money confiscated by criminals.
Under the plan, the state will pay for a one-way plane ticket for any homeless resident who can find someone on the mainland to take them in.