Homeless in Hawaii? State Will Fly You Back to Family on Mainland

Nick Grube/Honolulu Civil Beat

Hawaii lawmakers hope to save taxpayers millions of dollars in welfare costs by shipping some of the state’s estimated 17,000 homeless back to their families on the mainland.

It’s a controversial idea. Critics point to potential abuse of the program and view it as a Band-Aid approach to a deeply rooted problem.

But supporters see it as a win-win; the homeless get a fresh start in a supportive environment and the state can focus its limited funding on local residents.

After years of trying to institute a return-to-home program, legislators were finally able to squeak a bill through this past session to do a three-year trial run. Although the legal language is now in place to set it up, there's not much money to maintain it and the Department of Human Services, which would run the program, has serious concerns.

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