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May 24, 2013



For many months last year I walked past a man who was camped out on a bench in Waikiki.  Had the very best spot on Waikiki Beach, just across the road from ABC stores and right in the middle of the beach where all of the tourists walk past.

This homeless person was a real piece of work.  He did not bathe, change clothes or even bother with using the toilet, he just went into his trousers.  To say that the homeless man stank would be an understand.  He was so disgustingly foul that he was a bio-hazard unto himself.

I spent many a morning chatting with this homeless, wanting desperately to understand why such a condition was to be found in Waikiki.  I learned that the homeless man was a raging alcoholic and that he was not interested in going to a shelter.  I learned that Waikiki Health Centre visited him on his bench and even brought his medicines to him.  When I asked the homeless man why he thought he should sit on the bench and make it foul for all, he told me it was his god given right to do that.  I learned that there was no shame to the man.  The homeless man even went so far to tell me that I was ruining his day by calling attention to his condition.

I asked many questions of folks who deal with homelessness in Waikiki.  I really wanted to know why nothing could be done for this man.

Time past and it came to pass that this homeless man was given a safe clean place to live.  The homeless man was removed from his bench on Waikiki.  From time to time I would see the man in Waikiki, still drinking heavily and slowly starting to show the signs of one yearning to return to the street.

Some time back the raging alcoholic showed up at a bus stop, right in from of a very busy ABC store on Kuhio.  He replaced his living situation yet again.

This homeless man is very comfortable living on the street.  He knows that his appearance makes folks feel sorry for.  He has quite the gift of chat, and is very clever in letting folks know that for a few dollars he might be able to get to hospital or get a meal.  He never tells the poor tourists that every dollar received is going to be spent on alcohol.

This morning I passed this homeless man on my walk.  I wondered how long he would be in this location.  I was in for a shock when I returned from my walk.

The homeless man was sitting in his wheel chair with a young chap providing his with assistance.  Turns out the young chap is with Waikiki Health Centre.  The homeless man is known to, and he was ringing up an ambulance to take the man to hospital.

Gobsmacked I was.  Not oft one sees one of the out reach workers for the homeless.  How strange that the homeless man was receiving even more help.  He must be one of the lucky 100 that are getting all of the attention these days.  WHY?  What good will come out of all the out reach.  This man has a serious alcohol problem and nothing is going to change that condition if the homeless man does not wish it.  This homeless man knows that money is to be had by being on the street, why go into housing where there is no cash to feed his lust for alcohol.

Waikiki Health Centre is reaching out to the homeless.  Might well be the wrong sort.  OR, it might be that the 'bright young things' doing out reach are not capable of understanding the nature of the condition.

I just know it is wrong to throw good money after bad.  VERY WRONG.


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Posted: Friday May 24, 2013, 1:57 pm
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Rob Defrees
male, age 67, single
Hilo, HI, USA
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