Monday, August 03, 2015


Comparing NYC’s great work to resolve its homelessness crisis to Hawaii’s feeble effort is like … oh, I give up

UPPER WEST SIDE — Chronically homeless men and women living in city shelters and psychiatric hospitals, many of whom have never had a place to call their own, are moving into brand-new fully furnished apartments on Amsterdam Avenue.--UWS Building for Chronically Homeless Gets $13M Renovation

"We've had clients come in and they're in tears. Many of them have never had their own apartment"

by Larry Geller

Well, that’s New York City. The more I read, the more I am convinced that they will have solved their homelessness crisis while we are still holding city council meetings to debate impose the next punitive law.

You know what? We really don’t want to solve this problem.

We didn’t care enough to provide special education to more than about 273 students when the number should have been 11,000.

We didn’t care about overcrowding and abominable conditions in the State Hospital.

We have the lowest percentage of people with disabilities in regular employment of any state in the country.

It took a lawsuit to get sidewalk cutouts, and there are still a couple missing.

Neither our governor nor state legislators, even when told, cared that people were dying because of DOH cuts to mental health services.

We have ignored growing poverty and homelessness until the crisis has shoved it into our government’s face.

As to Native Hawaiian issues, I cannot even begin, and I don’t mean to slight the continued and unrelenting oppression. Even Civil Beat celebrated all the languages now available for our driver’s license test without mentioning that it took a lawsuit to get them—and that neither side mentioned Hawaiian, so that language is still missing (!).

No, we do not want to care for our disadvantaged.

Why? I’ll leave that to the political scientists, though I’m not hopeful that they will get out and pound the pavement for change. It’s as though Donald Trump had built a wall around UH Manoa. Immigration of professors into downtown Honolulu is not allowed, it appears. By not caring, by not intervening, they are demonstrating non-caring as a value for their students, who do eventually emerge into the general population.

There’s no state law that says we will not provide special education, or that the State Hospital has to be filled until it is dangerously overcrowded. There is no state law that denies services to prison inmates (that was another federal lawsuit). There is no state law that professors are not allowed to mingle with the general population.

And there’s no law that we cannot do the right (and most economical) things to resolve homeless in Hawaii. In other words, our neglect is ours alone, can’t blame it on anyone else.

Why didn’t we didn’t fix any of the above situations? Well, because we just didn’t. It’s the way we are. In the present, neither our city nor state want to house the homeless.

Prove me wrong.

Make me wrong.


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