If you’re a state with the highest rate of homelessness in the country, you’ve got a number of options. You could build more shelters. You could enact new tax credits for the working poor. Maybe provide more counseling and other services.
Or you could take the route lawmakers in Hawaii did: offer homeless residents a one-way ticket out of the state.
State legislators passed funding this year for a new program to offer
one-way flights to any of the state’s estimated 17,000 homeless
persons. Lawmakers appropriated $100,000 over the next two years for the
“return-to-home” program, but that funding could increase if the
initiative is viewed as a success.
There are many reasons why homelessness is so pervasive in Hawaii. It’s an expensive state to live in. It’s not easy to leave. There isn’t much affordable housing.