Honolulu, HI — To “celebrate” Christmas Eve, the Waikiki Police Department is planning to remove all of the city’s homeless population in a massive sweep. The action has prompted backlash from the community as well as the ACLU.
During the early morning hours, from 3:00 to 5:30 a.m. offices will sweep the town and forcibly remove all tents, gear, and people from the streets.
Executive director of the ACLU of Hawaii, Josh Wisch spoke to KITV, saying, “The city’s continuing effort to criminalize the houseless are – in our view- not only illegal and constitutionally questionable, but they’re ineffective and cruel. Doing this on Christmas Eve is unconscionably cruel.”
Indeed, literally waiting until the night before Christmas to remove the city’s homeless population seems like a cruelly timed plan, carefully implemented to make a statement.
Instead of programs to help the homeless population, the city is using brute force and inhumane tactics. In towns across America, private citizen try to provide shelter and food for the homeless as well and they are shut down, threatened or arrested.
A good Samaritan in Chicago learned the hard way about the police state who forced him to stop helping homeless people—or they will condemn his home and charge him.
When the brutally cold winter struck the Midwest earlier this year, Greg Schiller did an amazing thing. This selfless individual opened up his empty basement to a group of homeless people who may have otherwise died sleeping out on the street. He offered them food, warm beverages, and cots to sleep on. He even provided the entertainment and played movies for them.
“I would stay up all night with them and give them coffee and stuff and feed them,” he said. What’s more, Schiller had a strict policy that no drugs or alcohol were allowed in his home.
This was Schiller’s second year of inviting the area’s homeless into his home. Last year, however, he let them sleep in his garage and even though it was sealed off from the elements, it was still too cold and EMTs were called to help a man with a heart condition. So, this year, he moved the same operation to the basement where it was nice and cozy.
Everything was going great this year until the state stepped in, however. Schiller was essentially told that even though he owns his home, he does not get a say in who gets to sleep in it.
“While we appreciate those who volunteer to provide additional resources in the community, Mr. Schiller’s house does not comply with codes and regulations that guard against potential dangers such as carbon monoxide poisoning, inadequate light and ventilation, and insufficient exits in the event of a fire,” city spokesperson Molly Center said in a statement—as if the homeless population is being forced to stay in this basement.
Once they found out that a good Samaritan would dare challenge their almighty dictate on “sleeping regulations,” the city sent in police with a warrant and told him to shut it down, or else.
“They shut me down and said I have 24 hours to return my basement to storage and take down – I have several cots with sleeping bags for everybody – or they’ll condemn the house,” Schiller said at the time.
If the US spent half as much money on fixing the homeless situation as they did on the war in Afghanistan, there would not be a single homeless person in the county. While this is not a perfect solution, the numbers don’t lie.
According to estimates from Mark Johnston, the acting assistant housing secretary for community planning and development, “homelessness could be effectively eradicated in the United States at an annual cost of about $20 billion.”
The war in Afghanistan alone will cost Americans nearly double that amount in 2018 alone.
If the United States government cut its budget for the Afghanistan War in half, and put half of the money towards ending homeless in America, it could make a difference. If the government gave the entirety of the money it is using for endless proxy wars in the Middle East back to the taxpayers it was originally stolen from so that they could invest it in helping the individuals in need in their own communities, it could work wonders.