While hotels and resorts in Waikiki are running record numbers and tourists from China had been identified as top spenders, record profits are not converting in the ability for the State of Hawaii to take care of their homeless population.
The solution has often been finding a reason to chase homeless families from one park to another. Just about a year ago the sidewalk of oceanfront Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki turned into a camping area for homeless people sleeping in doorways of five star hotels where tourists are spending $500.00 a night.
In chasing homeless away, implementing laws and close beaches at night, homeless people are now less visible. Did they disappear? Not really.
Homeless people now often are seen asking for money in front of resort hotels or restaurants. Homeless people now appear nicely dressed and often look like a tourist waiting for a taxi. A nice suitcase replaced the shopping cart with plastic bags.
The question remains: Who is paying for the suitcase and the clean clothing?
How long can hotels shift the responsibility to assist homeless to the State of Hawaii or to charities without feeling a decline in occupancy?
Perhaps with the clarification of the law to collect transient accommodation taxes on mandatory resort fees, there are some more options now to take care of this unfortunate sector of Hawaiians. It would be a win-win helping these people in need and secure for tourists to have a feeling of Aloha when they go home.
A great percentage of the homeless in Hawaii are minors. A group of hungry homeless youth murdered a tourist in Waik last year.