I want to be perfectly clear: the houseless are the byproduct of our systems of doing things and the status quo. We must first admit that Houselessness is a byproduct of our society and find ways to eliminate Houselessness in our Island home.
We Will No Longer Criminalize the Houseless
People are struggling. The rent is too just too high. Struggling families and the homeless should not be criminalized. Hiding the homeless out of the public eye in shelters or sweeps is not a permanent solution. We need to do more.
The City and County of Honolulu must revamp its outlook on the houseless to meet the needs of our population. We must be compassionate and loving while at the same time we must be the parent to the child by helping to educate, empower and uplift. We must find creative ways to help our most vulnerable citizens such as looking at what other states are doing.
States such as Minnesota and California have shown that Affordable Housing Plans work. Creating more opportunities for housing, and special housing for our kupuna (elders), is essential.
Concerted efforts engaging AmeriCorps, private sector groups such as Habitat for Humanity, and other organizations are desperately needed. We must listen to and work with, not against, our housing reform and homelessness activists. We must incorporate mental health professionals, drug and addiction programs, and job training programs into our solution. 21 cities in the continental United States are participating in the "Promise Zone" program, which incorporates AmeriCorps volunteers, HUD, and others to provide comprehensive, lasting solutions. Why shouldn't Hawaii be part of an initiative such as that or why can’t we find a solution that works for our Islands? Here are some ideas we need to seriously consider if we are to move forward:
•Restructure, replace if necessary, and properly fund current programs, both public and private, first.
•Unite and cooperate with all groups and activists both public and private in order to have a well-organized mission.
•Create state of the art rehab, addiction and transition centers for the houseless.
•Apply multistage solutions in order to decrease the houseless population by at least 70% by the end of four years' time.
•Create and establish education and a culture of respecting all houseless individuals and families by setting an example for the rest of the world through aloha.
•Start the process of getting away from traditional home design and construction with old materials and begin introducing new modular designs with ecofriendly materials.
•Create prefab housing with local manufacturing. Explore 3d printed homes.
•Begin mapping all old homes in dire need of repair or replacing and work with homeowners to assure they do not become houseless.
•Income based housing on no more than 30% base income after taxes.
•Restructure the housing authority to actually house low-income people.
The simple bottom line is anyone that works a full-time job should not live in poverty or be homeless. And right now, couples, working three jobs, while going to school, are homeless. We can no longer allow situations like this to keep manifesting and to continue.