My Turn: Some homeless play the charity cycle

The public needs more exposure to stories about the homeless as printed in the April 16 West Hawaii Today paper. For those of us who have dealt with or who presently deal with these types of people, we place them into two categories. One group is homeless due to circumstances beyond their control. The other group is homeless by choice.

As I understand and as confirmed by the printed article, the group cleared out on Monday in Kona was a homeless-by-choice group. We see them throughout the island and there is a pattern to their existence. Unfortunately, we, as a compassionate community, contribute to their existence and comfort.


Example: We go through our closets and clear out the old stuff. Blankets, futons, old sleeping bags, clothing, etc. These are set aside and donated to charities. These charities sell or give them away to the needy. Many needy people benefit from these compassionate acts of consideration. Others depend on this as a way to enhance their chosen way of life.

This sounds all good and reasonable until those who choose to be homeless arrive in town. They spend a few hours begging then head for the Goodwill places that earlier received your donations of clothing and other goodies. These articles have now been placed on shelves with price tags well within the price range thanks to accomplishment a few hours of begging brought.

The now-equipped camper locates a campsite close to some industrialized complex, learns the location of some other compassionate organization that serves free food to the needy and relaxes to a life of choice. The days are spent begging for more cash or just roaming through town looking for more free stuff. At night, they return to claim articles left in the unsecured open and add that to their collection of possessions. Nights in Kona are beautiful and comfortable except for the occasional disruption of sleep caused by an ambulance or police car responding to some emergency.

Eventually, the cops come along and move everyone out. The homeless-by-choice reluctantly move out leaving all of the big stuff he bought cheaply or stole and is now dirty and considered junk. The county brings in the trucks and clean out the filth and garbage, which at one time was in your closet.

As stated in the article, the cleanup comes with a price that you, the compassionate contributor, pays for again. For the homeless-by-choice, the cycle begins anew. Find another camp site, beg for a few more dollars then return to the goodwill charity and restock on clothing and bedding. The cycle continues because there are so much more compassionate people out there than homeless-by-choice individuals.

This same thing goes on in Waimea, where community groups clean up the mess left behind by the homeless-by-choice. The one thing we have in our favor is the weather. The rain and cold limits outdoor camping. Falling trees and an observant public, willing to get involved, clean up the filth in campsites abandoned by the homeless.

The new and positive thing I read in the referred article was about the wisdom from Huxley Reeves. He is against setting up the Village 9 homeless housing next to the high school. His rationale has been a concern for many in the community but somehow escaped the consideration of those tasked with the project.


Maybe Huxley Reeves, who is homeless, should be hired as a consultant to the homeless solution agency.

Leningrad Elarionoff is a resident of Waimea.