Controversial program to help homeless hits snagUPDATED 7:29 PM HST Aug 30, 2013Video Transcript
A new program to help the homeless... has hit a SNAG. You may have heard of the controversial "Return to Home" program -- to pay for tickets to send homeless -- home. As KITV4's Lara Yamada show us... one woman is telling her story of how it WOULD help... ...right as the state decides NOT to fund it. 1520-24 If it wasn't for him, there were a number of times where I would have given up. With Nalo Boy, her companion of 9 years by her side, Lisa shared her story: In the late 80s, she followed her job as a flight attendant to Hawaii. But in later years: was hit by job cuts, divorce -- and then -- kicked out as a caretaker when others moved in. 138 Pretty much from there my life went down hill. STANDUP: 3228-40 Lisa says she usually sleeps at Piano Park on King Street during the day time and slept near McKinley High School at night until they kicked her out. She says she'd like to stay at a shelter, but it's always been 'no dogs allowed.' 249-54 And I wasn't about to give him up to anybody. He's been my buddy. My companion. Orignially from the East Coast, Lisa says she knew it was time to leave. But with no home, no job and no money... 1102 I want to be home, but I can't afford to get back home. 2225-33 We want them to get back to a strong support unit, to get them back on their feet, to get a job or go back to school. A handful of lawmakers, including Representative John Mizuno, started a program called Return To Home, to pay for tickets to send homeless -- home. But the Departement of Human Services has rejected the plan and refused to allocate funds, saying: The program will be " ...costly and administratively burdensome." 2255 It's unfortunate. 2310-15 We know it works. We've seen it work. We've sent more than 20 people back. 1809 I've come across an awful lot of compassion. Lisa says her family is now trying to scrape together the money for a ticket. So she can return home ... and start again. 1250-59 Leaving here is sad. I have a lot of history, a lot of history. But my kids are home and I want to be with my kids. In the past, Mizuno says he's collected donations and used some of his own money to pay for tickets -- but not taxpayer money. He hopes to meet with the governor next month, to try and fund - at least - part of the program. He says cities such as San Francisco and New York... already have sucessful "Return to Home" programs.