Lifestyle & Belief

Hawaii offers homeless one-way ticket to leave islands


Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii where the Thirty Meter Telescope will be completed by 2022. The telescope will be able to look at matter 13 billion light years away.


Gary Newkirk

Hawaii is planning on offering one-way plane tickets to homeless people who volunteer to return back to the United States mainland.

The unconventional move is aimed at saving the Aloha State money on food, shelter and services currently dedicated to Hawaii's estimated 17,000 homeless. 

The Department of Human Services three-year pilot program, aptly named “return to home,” begins this fiscal year. The legislature has already earmarked $100,000 for the first 12 months.

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The state hopes that by paying for plane tickets, possibly even beds on cruise ships, it will save millions long-term.

"Every homeless person, whether they're in a shelter or un-housed, they get something like over 700 dollars from the state per month," Representative Rida Cabanilla said.

"This is not a silver bullet, this does not solve everything," Representative John Mizuno said. "It's fractional, it's not for 5,000 homeless people. It's going to be a handful of homeless people that we send."

In order to be eligible, those interested men and women must prove they can not afford an airfare and have family or a "support system" to return to in their home state.