When a dream for a better life ends in homelessness

craig johnson of The institute for human services

When a dream for a better life ends in homelessness

September 2019 – Earlier this year we worked with Hawaii News Now to give the public more insight on one slice of the homeless population in Hawaii. The issue is far more complex than most understand.

Mainlanders who wind up homeless in Hawaii aren’t being sent here by agencies. They got here on their own.

There is a small population of those who come to Hawaii with money, a dream for employment, opportunity and a better quality of life. These are people who are gainfully employed with skills. They just didn’t have ample resources of time and money to make the transition work. One cruise line employee, Craig Johnson, came with $4,000 to relocate to Hawaii. He ran out of money, couldn’t get a job here and found himself in need of our care and services.

You can read more about his plight by clicking here.

There is a pervasive myth that Mainlanders who are homeless are being sent here by agencies and given a one-way ticket to Hawaii. We haven’t found any basis to that.  We ask everyone from the Mainland who stays in any of our eight shelters throughout Oahu how they funded their travel to Hawaii. The closest parallel to this myth is that they used unrestricted welfare or government assistance money that they were given to pay for their ticket.

At IHS, we have an airline relocation program but it’s not to shift problems to another state. Here’s how it works. If someone in our care has family and resources to return to the Mainland, we verify that there is a safety net in place for them. Then, our case management team supports these family reunions by providing counseling and airfare to make that transition home. The client must pay for half of the ticket. We’d never buy someone a ticket elsewhere and simply wish them good luck. It’s our commitment to ensure that there’s resources and family to get people back on their feet no matter where they go.

You can help friends and family be more informed by sharing this information with them. We need more friends like you to dispel myths and misconceptions.

You can support our airline relocation program and other innovative programs with a donation here: Donate Now

1 Comment
  • Gerald Darden
    Posted at 13:33h, 20 October Reply

    I am a former guest of IHS Sumner. In regards to the return assistance program, a former employee tried to send to New Jersey where I have no support system. I refused the offer then for obvious reasons, but it is now what I am referencing in regards to my current attempt to utilize this assistance to return Savannah, GA. If this is possible, I would really like to communicate with whom may be of such assistance. Mahalo.

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