HONOLULU (KITV4) -- Hawaii may be seeing a rise in tourism, but there's also more visitors with no place to go.
And many of them are trying to find their way back home.
"I'll be able to see my family. I miss them more than anything in the world," said Rochelle Chambers, who is living on the beach in Waikiki. "I think I've done what I've needed to do here."
Chambers said she's been living on the streets for a couple weeks now since getting evicted from her Waikiki apartment. And she's hoping to move to Maryland to start a new life and be closer to family.
"I'm desperate to get off the street and I would love instead of establishing another place here... just go straight there because that will get me off the streets now," she said.
The Institute for Human Services estimates between 50% and 60% more homeless people are coming from the mainland this year -- after COVID-19 restrictions stopped travel during the pandemic.
And that's putting a strain on the already limited resources in the islands.
"There's individuals who say that, you know, it's paradise and I want to come here and live and it's beautiful," said Yukiko Livae, outreach administrator for IHS. "They see pictures and all that stuff, but they don't really know about the cost of living."
And when reality hits "they're just realizing that this is not what I want," she added.
The IHS has helped 575 people since 2015 relocate back to the mainland. The nonprofit provides travel vouchers for those wanting to go home after connecting them with family, friends or treatment providers willing to help get them off the streets.
"We're not just dumping them back to the next state," Livae said. "This is the reason why we have the relocation program is for them to get out of homelessness."
Kristen joined KITV4 in March 2021 after working for the past two decades as a newspaper reporter. Kristen's goal is to produce meaningful journalism that educates, enlightens and inspires to affect positive change in society.