- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hawaii has set aside $100,000 for a “return-to-home” program that officials are hoping can alleviate the strain on the Aloha State’s welfare system.

The program is meant to buy one-way tickets aboard flights and cruise ships for homeless non-native Hawaiians to comfortably travel back to their states of origin.

State Rep. Rida Cabanilla, a Democrat, told a local newspaper that her decision to support the program was a no-brainer.

Even if a homeless individual comes back to Hawaii after only months away, Cabanilla said, the state would still have saved thousands on food, shelter, and medical costs, the Honolulu Civil Beat reported.

But the Department of Human Services isn’t as thrilled about the program.

“The administrative requirements…are costly and administratively burdensome,” spokeswoman Kayla Rosenfeld told MSN News.

“Provisions include: transportation to the airport, orientation regarding airport security and ensuring proper hygiene. Additionally, if state funds were utilized for the purpose of sending people home, the participants would be required to sign voluntary departure agreements that would need to be recorded in databases.”

“The DHS will continue to dialogue with the community around these issues,” she said. “At the end of the day, however, we remain concerned this program is an invitation to purchase a one-way ticket to Hawaii with a guaranteed return flight home.”



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