New York City is Sending The Homeless to Hawaii Complete With Plane Tickets and Rent Money

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The NYC move just makes financial sense, I often wonder why cities don’t do this, particularly in places like LA, NY, Seattle, San Francisco, etc where they have large homeless populations. It seems to me that places like Alabama, where the cost of living would be a cheap fix would work. Lord knows there’s plenty of land around the U.S. and lots of other places to send people, many of them went to cities for work initially, just didn’t have a strong financial plan. If they send them to Alabama or Mississippi with 20k they could fund them for nearly 2 years and that would certainly give them time to find work and get back on their feet! The article is making the city out to be the villian, not buying into that, it is a smart, viable, compassionate plan.

  2. @Penny – The cities on the receiving end apparently don’t think it’s all that compassionate.

  3. Historically, “homeless services” in most communities meant buying the homeless person a one-way bus ticket to the nearest large city (which is one reason why bus stations have always been such awful places). The outlines of this program sound significantly better — relocation and one year’s rent someplace where, hopefully, jobs are more plentiful. Definitely sounds like there are some problems with accountability in the program (although it’s hard to tell, ’cause it’s the Post) but in theory one would imagine that an anti-Government activist like Gary would applaud a “get back on your own two feet” approach rather than endless accommodation in sub-standard, city-paid housing.

  4. Penny, do you happen to live in or near a small town/city that accepts one-way, no notice homeless? I do. It sucks. They are a huge drain on limited resources in many smaller towns that cannot afford them either. The largest cities in the US have benefited from economic diversity and opportunity. That’s fine. However, with said opportunity and diversity come casualties. Your characterization that these homeless(and very often mentally ill) should be Alabama or Mississippi’s problem is so condescending that it makes my head hurt.
    You’re part off the incredibly smug US population that helps to elect people like Donald Trump.

  5. @other. No, I have no real opinion on Trump. My point was that attitudes like the one OP had was exactly the type that pushes people away to elect unorthodox candidates. Nothing more, nothing less. I live in a state that was over 70% Trump.

  6. Hawaii, huh? For almost 2 decades, many cities have sent their homeless to Denver, with just a one way ticket. Denver’s mayor even touted how many homeless persons and families he helped last year as part of his reelection campaign. The number was staggering to a tax paying citizen like me.
    I wonder if I can get assistance to get to Hawaii from anyone?

  7. Right , Doc Fried, good idea. If we’re on the corner with a cardboard sign for a few days we can get a ticket to Hawaii and rent money too? Where do I sign?

  8. Using @Penny’s “single variable”-style logic, it’s in our collective interest to pay for passports, ample funding, and one-way tickets and offload the homeless into countries we have “visa-free” relationships with. This way we can clear the homeless “off our books” while still maintaining a “smart, viable, compassionate plan.”

    No hate, but I’m just pointing out this style of thinking is “penny wise, pound foolish.”

  9. @geoff, @penny

    $41,000 per year on shelters is *astronomical*. That’s $3400/mo, and where I live, that’s a mortgage for some very respectable accommodation. (I live in suburban DC, where stuff ain’t cheap either.)

    For that price, it’s economically rational to outsource the homeless problem. For half that amount, the city can relocate folks to cheaper areas and provide some money to the city for other rendered services.

    Let’s face it. HCOL areas are unfriendly to a lot of people, and they’re *super* unfriendly to poor or homeless people.

  10. Even Hawaii exports some of its homeless. But no city or state can just “send” people anywhere. Consent is required. Instead of bribing folks with a check for $X thousand (which will never be used for the purpose intended if that is how the program works), the major causes of homelessness, mental illness, drug addiction, lack of affordable housing etc, must be addressed.

  11. Love it. And this could be a real money maker for some enterprising “homeless” if enough cities do the same thing. Then just shuttle from city to city every month. Free ticket from NYC-Honolulu and a year’s rent of $40K in my pocket. Then Honolulu will buy me a free ticket to Denver. Ka-ching for another year’s rent of $40K. Then Denver buys a free ticket to SFO and another year’s rent of $40K. There’s enough brain dead big city Democrat mayors that I could potentially earn $480K a year tax-free before heading back to NYC to wash, rinse, repeat.

  12. “NY Post was misleading readers” correct and Gary then turned a highly misleading and inaccurate story into clickbait

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