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Civil Beat: sending the homeless back to their homes

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It's a controversial topic: sending the homeless back to their homes. Just how many of the state’s homeless came from elsewhere? Who pays for the one way ticket out of Hawaii?

Chad Blair from Civil Beat breaks it down in this week’s segment.

Chad Blair: Most of Hawaii's homeless are local but about 10 percent are recent arrivals, meaning people who have been in the state for less than a year. Cities across the United States offer homeless people bus or plane tickets to leave. In Hawaii, three nonprofits including the Institute for Human Services have relocation programs funded in part by grants from the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.

Paula Akana: How many people have left the islands through these programs?

Chad Blair: Almost 500 people. Most have gone to the mainland, some to neighbor islands and a handful to places such as Micronesia or the Philippines. The idea is that people will have family or friends who can offer them housing at their new destination.

Paula Akana: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would give more funding to relocation programs?

Chad Blair: House Bill 2012 would give the Hawaii Tourism Authority and HLTA some money to fund homeless programs in tourist areas, and that could expand the existing relocation programs. Here's an update: That bill passed the House Thursday and is headed for the Senate.

Paula Akana: Lawmakers have tried unsuccessfully to fund a relocation program in previous years, who opposes the idea?

Chad Blair: There are concerns from the Ige Administration that funding a relocation program would detract from other homeless programs, keep in mind this would only serve a small portion of the homeless population. There are also concerns about people ending up homeless in their new destination. An investigation by The Guardian also found that similar programs in mainland cities did little to follow up with the people they relocated.