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Aloha. Now get the Hell out

Jack Shepherd

Passed into law: Now the Hawaiian homeless can win either a free trip to the Mainland or a stint in the slammer. Book’em, Dan-O.

I would think Mitch Snyder is rolling over in his grave. Mitch, along with Michael Stoops and a core group of activists and thinkers started the National Coalition for the Homeless in the 1970’s. They are also responsible for doing more for the homeless than any other group that I know of in America’s history.

Hawaii is not alone in their approach to the homeless. Salmon, Idaho gives (or did in the 1990’s) a trip to the county line or a free six months in jail. Well almost free: The incarcerated have to pay vagrancy fines and daily room and board.

The homeless have been with mankind from the beginning, and they will be there at the end. That is no reason to not offer shelter to the growing multitude in America, regardless of what you may read about Wall Street’s growing club of wealthy.

In the west like Wyoming or Montana in the winter you can be fined for not offering a ride: With towns maybe fifty miles apart, and the wind chill brings the temperature to -70 degrees Fahrenheit, this makes sense. Doesn’t Housing? In Alaska they have vans that run 24/7 to pick up drunks to keep them from freezing, notwithstanding the amount of antifreeze they may have consumed.

The answer is not easy, and yes it too costs communities already short on funding. However, to act like New York did with the Sanitation Strike some years back, whereby garbage was loaded on barges to ship offshore for holding until a disposition was reached, should not be the first choice of an evolved society when it comes to our fellow man.

Communities across America have in the past and continue today to combat this societal ill: The Boy Scouts, VFW, along with churches and a plethora of social programs have all tried, with diminishing resources, to interdict this ever-increasing problem. The point is that with a shower, a bed, and nourishing food one may fight another day. That’s not a lot to ask.

Mahalo from Arizona.