TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore
Dave Ross
AP: 33e52e6d-3e0b-48df-9412-9b7ccb62e925
A man sleeps on the ground near Waikiki Beach, in Honolulu. State lawmakers are struggling with the visible problem of homelessness in tourist areas and some have proposed a contentious idea to use state money to fly the homeless back to wherever they came from. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)

Hawaii homeless won't be flying to Seattle anytime soon

The story that Hawaii's legislature approved a program giving homeless people one-way plane tickets to mainland cities, including Seattle, caused quite a national stir last week.

It's a program called "Return to Home," which has been under consideration for years in the state legislature, and reporter Nathan Eagle of the Honolulu Civil Beat, who broke the news, says it is still the buzz of the Islands.

"The program is aimed at uniting homeless folks here, in particularly the chronically homeless, people who have been homeless for a year or longer, with their families back home."

The program is entirely voluntary, Eagle explains, and that is the big issue right now.

"The Department of Human Services, which is tasked with implementing this program, has no interest in it. It's testified against it year after year," says Eagle. "I was speaking with them just the other day and as best I can tell, they have no intent to actually implement this program."

While some people who are homeless save up to get to the nice weather in Hawaii, for the most part, Eagle says homeless people in Hawaii are primarily local folks.

With all the national and international attention, Eagle says the Department of Human Services is now trying to spread the word they're not actively flying people out right now.

"They're really wanting to send the message out, 'Hey we don't intend to do this, stay where you are.'"

You might also be interested in:

Concern about Hawaii's fly homeless home program

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
Top Stories

  • Eying the Prize
    A dominant win over Arizona has the Seahawks eying the Super Bowl

  • History of Violence
    The gunman who fatally ambushed two NYC police officers had a long criminal record
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.