Homeless Flock to Hawaii

With food and shelter $3 a night, it's a poor-man's paradise

By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff

Posted May 15, 2010 2:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – Turns out surfers, vacationers, and the First Family aren't the only folks with Hawaii on their radar screen: It seems the islands are also something of a mecca for homeless men from other states. Add to the white-sand beaches the room and board for just $3 a night, plus free medical and dental care, and it's a winning proposition for an increasing number of single, middle-aged, unemployed guys who can just put together the cost of a one-way plane ticket, the director of a homeless shelter tells NPR.

At her shelter in downtown Honolulu, a third of all the guests are from the mainland, the director says, and she's not too happy that the state's taxpayers are footing the bill for the hospitality. The majority of the people who show up for lunch, an aide adds, are from out of state. "You have your locals, but not too many."

 People on the beach watch during the first round of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Competition big wave surfing contest on December 8, 2009 in Waimea, Hawaii.
People on the beach watch during the first round of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Competition big wave surfing contest on December 8, 2009 in Waimea, Hawaii.   (Getty Images)
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