In Hawaii, a state that has long struggled to deal with its homeless population, the government has announced a new initiative to clear the streets and beaches of people living outdoors.
At a press conference in Honolulu on May 17, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Governor Neil Abercrombie revealed his 90-day plan to focus on moving homeless into shelters.
The Associated Press notes the timing of the plan will leave the streets more presentable when the president visits the state.
The new initiatives are kicking in just before President Barack Obama hosts a major international conference -- the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum -- in Waikiki in November. Abercrombie said the timing wasn't deliberate, but instead a "happy coincidence."
In perhaps one of the most controversial parts of the plan, Abercrombie and homeless coordinator Marc Alexander said they will discourage local church groups and nonprofits from feeding the homeless in the outdoors.
They say these feedings just encourage more and more homeless people to flock to parks and other public spaces. Instead, they hope organizations will collaborate with shelters to provide meals for the homeless and housing opportunities simultaneously.
The governor made it clear the policy would be strict, keeping cleared areas free of homeless people.
"When we clean up an area it's going to stay that way," Abercrombie said. "People who may see an opportunity to simply wait for an area to get cleaned up and then move back in are going to find that that's not going to be possible."
Read more on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
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