Homeless aren’t looking for ferry rides
One of the more absurd arguments against the Hawaii Superferry is that it is somehow going to result in homeless people moving to neighbor islands. Some homeless people don't even want to move from Maile Beach Park to the new homeless shelter in Waianae, let alone to another island.
My own personal homeless person is a local guy who lives around the Kaneohe Safeway in a car with his little dog Kanaka Boy. He reads this column, which shows that, while he may not have a roof over his head, he's got good taste. He and I sometimes kick around the issues of the day when we run into each other. When I was going into Jamba Juice recently, I saw him parked nearby so I got him a tall Orange-a-Peel (sorry, nothing for Kanaka Boy). It was then he asked me why the homeless on Oahu's west shore got all the attention.
"Why they no open one homeless shelter this side?" he asked. And he had me, there. I could have said, "Well, because most Kaneohe residents prefer the homeless to live somewhere other than Kaneohe." But that would have been too brutally honest. The fact is, most people don't want a homeless shelter in their back yard or even their side yard. But in Kaneohe the livin' is easy, the people are generally friendly and the few homeless that call Kaneohe home would rather live there than trek over to Pai'olu Kaiaulu, the new $7 million homeless shelter in Waianae that not only offers shelter but other support services.
I later learned that there are two homeless shelters on the Windward side, one in Hauula and one in Kailua. But my housing-challenged friend and his little dog apparently don't wish to avail themselves of these services. He may be in luck, though. I've also since learned of an attempt to establish a 24-hour emergency shelter in Kaneohe to house 35 to 40 people. I haven't seen 35 to 40 homeless people in Kaneohe but I suppose that, like baseball diamonds built in Iowa corn fields, "if you build it they will come."
I bring this up simply to show how idiotic it is for people to think that the Hawaii Superferry will result in Oahu homeless emigrating to other islands. I listened to a guy from the Big Island on one of the local talk-radio shows the other day fairly foam at the mouth over the inevitability of mass homeless migration to the Big Island should the Superferry begin service there. Please. Kanaka Boy's master even has a functioning car, but he hardly leaves the Safeway parking lot. What about all the homeless people without cars? Are they going to go out and buy cars (not to mention pay for Superferry tickets) just so they can grace the Big Island with their presence? (Let's see ... live by Jamba Juice and Safeway in Kaneohe or in the boonies of Puna? Decisions, decisions.)
Such silly arguments not only show to what ridiculous lengths Superferry opponents are willing to go, but how little aloha they have for their fellow needy citizens.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
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