Brits discover Hawaii’s homeless mess

A brief BBC documentary (below) and a similar piece in The Guardian examined homelessness in Hawaii this week, more specifically homelessness on Oahu and especially on the Waianae Coast.

Various viewers and readers may interpret these stories quite differently, depending on their familiarity with Hawaii, homelessness, and drug addiction, and any preconceptions or ideological biases they may have.

It’s interesting to see how these issues are portrayed to foreign audiences.  Much can be said about each take, but I’ll refrain for now.

See for yourself:

Meanwhile, a grubby squatter colony is growing larger and more problematic near the Ala Wai canal as authorities dither and basically do nothing while neighbors fume and a crisis brews.

Same old story:  It started with one guy living in the bushes, who was no big deal.  Pretty soon, a few more joined him, and people started getting concerned.  Then a bunch more came along and started building shacks, running a bicycle chop shop, and stealing everything they could.  Authorities did nothing about it, and now the problem is way out of control.  Outreach workers have recently been sent to try to engage with the squatters….

And in Wahiawa, a notorious druggie squatter camp known as “The Ice Palace” is filled with dangerous meth heads who have stabbed a neighbor and caused all sorts of other problems.  Nobody can figure out what to do about it, so the problem just festers while neighbors plead for relief.

Folks, we need some leadership on this issue.  Seriously.

Recent claims that we are “making some progress” on homelessness are just not credible in the overall context of this crisis.  We’re nowhere near the progress we need to be making.

And that’s putting it very mildly.

Our community is being wrecked by the combined scourge of drug addiction, denial, astronomical housing costs, rampant property speculation, government incompetence, neglect, and failed leadership.

It’s tragic and infuriating.

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