A news article published behind the Star-Advertiser’s online paywall on July 12 states that the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s numbers on visitor spending included a “mistake.” Hawaii actually brought in $100 million dollars more in tourism spending than we thought.
Contrary to the supposed downward trend, it seems we are on track for a new record high.
Well, this is a little embarrassing isn’t it? I mean, after all, we just got comfortable blaming the homeless for the drop in tourism we all kept hearing about, and we passed all these laws to criminalize the homeless. Now we find out that, oops, its actually higher than it has ever been before.
Quick! We need to come up with or invent a new problem to blame on the homeless!
A homeless man asks Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on June 18, 2014, how he can pick up his belongings that were confiscated by the city in recent “Compassionate Disruption” homeless sweeps.
And a person on the news says that, “Absolutely, its a good investment and money well spent.”
So we can’t come up with money to shelter or house the homeless but we can piss away $2 million to shove them around in “dispassionate destruction” of their lives and possessions.
Every day we waste enough money to house 15 families a month. In 30 days, we waste enough to house 450 families or individuals a month.
One of the largest homeless shelters on the island has an annual budget of about $700,000 and houses roughly 400 people a year.
That ends up being less than $2,000 to shelter someone for a year. Instead we are wasting $15,000 a day to harass them.
For $2 million dollars we could run 3 additional shelters of the same size and house roughly 1,200 people.
How many families with their children could we get off of the streets by just paying for an apartment for them? Some hole in the wall would cost $1,000 a month.
So every day we waste enough money to house 15 families a month. In 30 days, we waste enough to house 450 families or individuals a month.
So back to that $2 million — nice effective use of money, isn’t it?
That’s OK. We just discovered that we have $100 million more to work with now so wasting a couple million isn’t so bad, right?
We just need to come up with some new propaganda to blame on the homeless so we can rally the population and pass more laws to outlaw “those people.”
Then we can hire a consulting firm to teach us how to spin the words and make us feel better so it doesn’t sound like we’re picking on them, but “making it better for everyone” — except, of course, those people that cause all of our problems like making tourism drop. Oh wait, we can’t use that line any more.
But all bitter humor aside, let’s stop wasting money on nonsense that does not address the problem, and start addressing the problem!
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Curtis J. Kropar is the executive director of
Hawaiian Hope, a technology-based nonprofit organization. He has been homeless, and learned a great deal during that time. He has also taught inner city youth, gang kids and adult education, and is a programmer.