Why Pols Don’t Care About Homeless

Larry Price
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Wednesday - March 10, 2010
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I can’t help feeling sorry for the homeless residents of Honolulu. I guess it’s not correct to call them residents, but they are here and someone has to figure out a way to help them recover from their homelessness. What’s especially difficult for me is seeing them lying on the cold ground or even concrete sidewalks in inclement weather. It’s difficult to imagine how miserable they must be with people walking by and ignoring them.

I am equally sure that some of them don’t know what’s going on and are mentally incapacitated. After all, there are shelters all over the place in which they can move or stay overnight, if they would only agree to abide by the rules. Oddly enough, this is one thing many homeless people have in common: They don’t want anyone to restrict their movement or give them orders. They dislike rules and would rather sleep on a cold sidewalk under a tree than follow house rules at a shelter with restroom facilities, a comfortable bed, clean sheets, a blanket and food.


I’ve heard many people say that there are all kinds of homeless individuals and they must be understood in different classifications. Some are victims of dys-functional families, others are mentally incompetent, drug addiction leaves some unable to cope with reality, and some are chronically unemployed for a variety of reasons. One would think that in an election year at least a few of the candidates would offer a solution or remedy for homelessness in a resort town dependent on tourists for economic survival.

Not a word. Not even a peep. The message is clear: You can’t get elected to public office trying to assist the homeless community.

Only one other issue is more neglected: the extraordinary number of indigenous people in our jails and prisons. Doesn’t anyone running for elective office wonder how the population of correctional facilities got so out of line?

Observing homeless individuals is sad. I thought I would do a little unscientific investigation of some of the hardcore homeless community to see if I could find a similarity, some commonality among them that might give a clue to their behavior.

Most often they are territorial. They seem to favor the same location until some form of “urban renewal” forces them to move. Many are loners, but there are those who travel with one or two steady partners at similar times of the day and night. This could probably be attributed to the old adage “misery loves company.”

There is something else that stands out: They carry all their earthly belongings with them as they move from one location to another. It is an amazing trait of the homeless. They cherish what little they have.

Often they have a shopping cart. It is more than a means of transporting their belongings - in many cases, it is used as a crutch or walker. If there is one thing the homeless all have in common is a shopping cart. They depend on it to get from one place to another.

The shopping cart is important to shoppers in malls and supermarkets. Not only does it allow the shopper to buy more groceries, it helps shoppers get their goods to their cars. Once in the parking lot and the shopping cart is unloaded, it is abandoned. Most people don’t bother to return their shopping carts to the racks on the side of the parking lots. The stores have employees rounding them up every so often, but they are easily picked up by a homeless person in need.

Interesting that discarded individuals become attached to discarded shopping carts, because their contents have been unloaded and they are no longer needed. I admit it sounds like nonsense: Control the shopping carts and you begin to control the homeless. It’s not the end, but it may be a beginning.

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