HONOLULU, Hawaii (KITV4) -- Daniel Murphy said he bought a one-way ticket to paradise for just $77.
Murphy, originally from New Jersey, said he took a leap of faith moving here in January without a job and nowhere to go.
"You guys have that beautiful aloha spirit here, which is love and so it's just a perfect match," he said. "And I just look forward to the days advancing and see what God has for me."
Throughout the pandemic the number of homeless coming here from the mainland dropped significantly. But now as restrictions are being lifted, there's been a spike in homeless arrivals.
"It's definitely at a peak right now and so we're seeing some pressure on the system from those people coming from out-of-state without any intention of, you know, having a permanent residence," said Jill Wright, spokeswoman for the Institute for Human Services. "They want to come here and have a taste of paradise. So we've seen a lot of pent up demand."
According to the Institute for Human Services, more than 20% of residents in its men's shelter recently relocated to Oahu -- the latest hurdle as state leaders work to end homelessness in the islands.
"We see people daily from the CORE team that have just arrived within the last few days or the last few months," said Dr. James Ireland, director of Honolulu Emergency Services Department. "As Safe Travels goes away here, -- as COVID is getting better, which is a good thing -- that could potentially open up that gate again."
Hawaii has the second-highest homelessness rate per capita in the United States. And with travel restrictions easing this month, there may be more transplants on the way.
"It really doesn't matter what socio-economic class you are, you know that lure to the islands is great," Wright said.
The newest group of homeless at the IHS shelter said the reason for their move is wanting a better life, nice weather and outdoor adventures such as backpacking and fishing.
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.