In a novel bid to reduce welfare spending, the nation’s 50th state has decided to relocate some of its homeless population elsewhere.
During the past legislative session, Hawaiian lawmakers narrowly passed a bill establishing a program that could send homeless people born out of the state back to the U.S. mainland. The idea is reduce the cost of supporting the estimated 17,000 homeless people living in Hawaii, the Honolulu Civil Beat notes.
Proponents of the idea say the homeless sent back to the U.S. mainland will be better able to get back on their feet on their home soil. Critics say it doesn’t address the root causes of homelessness.
Despite the victory in passing the measure, which had been debated for some years, lawmakers did not allocate significant funding for the program’s three-year trial run.
A representative from the state’s Department of Human Services said, “we remain concerned this program is an invitation to purchase a one-way ticket to Hawaii with a guaranteed return flight home.”
The state has budgeted just $100,000 over the next two years to purchase airline or ocean liner tickets for homeless people to leave the state. Homeless individuals transported out of Hawaii will have to sign a waiver saying they are participating in the program on a voluntary basis.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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