Saturday, January 10, 2015


Daily Show explains why Honolulu’s “Housing Second” plan costs taxpayers money (video)

by Larry Geller

Talk is cheap. Honolulu’s Mayor Kirk Caldwell talked “Housing First” as a way to get homeless people off of the streets, and used that as a carrot to urge the City Council not to kill his planned sale of the city’s 12 affordable housing complexes to private developers. The idea was that the city would be rid of the need to operate and maintain the facilities and make some money from the sale as well. And $31 million of that would go for Housing First.

The plan fell through, and it turned out that there was no Housing First program anyway.

The city still has no housing in its Housing First program, but has instead passed punitive ordinances that effectively criminalize homelessness. The most detailed plan, and it is a stretch to call it that, would create a tent city on Sand Island. There’s not much in the news about that idea these days either.

Until the city provides housing units in adequate numbers, not only does poverty take its toll, but, if one has to make an economic argument, taxpayers are footing a bill that they don’t need to pay. How so? Here’s the explanation from a Daily Show segment earlier this week:

daily show image

Bottom line: Housing First not only works, but it is cheaper to do it than to talk about it while people remain on the streets.


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