Do my eyes deceive me on Waikiki homeless?
I made a few trips to Waikiki last week and found the homeless far less visible than my last visit in checks from the Elks Club end of Kapiolani Park through Ala Moana Park.
I’ve also noticed fewer homeless in once-popular areas in Kakaako.
I’ll take it as a sign that Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s homelessness initiative is making progress, although there’s cause for some wariness from reports that the Waikiki homeless are moving into abandoned properties.
The administration reported getting more than 400 people statewide off of the streets and into shelters or transitional and permanent housing in the initial 90 days of its initiative, which is a significant start in so short a time.
There’s been some suspicion that it’s mainly an attempt to clean up Waikiki and the city core for the APEC conference, but the governor and his homelessness coordinator Marc Alexander have earned credit for more commitment than that just from their willingness to set goals and accept accountability for the results.
They’ve developed some sound strategies, such as fixing public housing units that are vacant because of disrepair, identifying sub-groups of homeless and their special needs and getting public and private agencies that work with the homeless on the same page and directed toward best practices.
It’s encouraging that the liberal administration is willing to adopt tough love approaches when appropriate, such as discouraging charitable groups from feeding the homeless on the beaches and instead directing them to shelters where they can get more help than just food.
One of the first and most valuable management lessons I learned is that you never let anybody get comfortable in a bad situation that’s detrimental to both the individual and the larger community.
It’s fair to ask what society is doing to help our fellow citizens who are homeless, but it’s also fair to ask what the homeless who are capable of helping themselves are doing about it.
Those who shun available shelter space and claim the right to freely live on prime beachfront park lands and other public property because they don’t like the rules the rest of us have to follow deserve little slack.