Bruddah Iz tells it best:
Here is a Hawaiian cottage in Waikiki, one of few remaining as noted in "Strangers in Our Own Land" (Season 1). Notice how it is surrounded by mid-rise condos and high-rise hotels. Once upon a time, Waikiki was all residential and featured homes like this one. You'll find a few more apartment buildings than cottages remaining from the 1930s and 1940s, especially along Ala Wai Boulevard. These treasures are vanishing quickly and painfully.
Here's a link to a picture (circa 1905) showing Diamond Head as seen from Punchbowl in the days before the high-rises. http://hawaiiandays.com/HDC/prints/074.htm
In contrast, here is a picture taken from Punchbowl in September 2009. Notice how Diamond Head is barely visible behind the high-rises.
To see more pictures of Old Hawai`i: http://jalna.blogspot.com/2009/02/old-hawaii.html
Two apartment complexes are opening this month (April 2014) on O'ahu that will provide housing for low-income families. Read about it and watch the video: http://khon2.com/2014/04/01/affordable-housing-projects-unveiled-in-kakaako-pagoda/
Homelessness is said to be the most serious problem facing the State of Hawai‘i. Indeed, Honolulu has been ranked as the 8th “meanest” city in how it treats its homeless people. How do the islands treat their homeless? The short answer is “without compassion.” They evict the tent people from their beach park camps under the guise of needing the land for development. Not that it seems likely Honolulu will ever build a skyscraper in Ala Moana Beach Park. But the advice is never to say “never,” so I won’t. After the homeless reside in their new location, the authorities move them again, on and on, ad infinitum. On occasion, the legislature and city council will consider the construction of low-cost housing for the homeless, but the plans never seem to progress very far.
Who are the homeless? There are many classes of homeless. Some arrived in Hawai'i with grand hopes for finding work and becoming a part of Hawaiian society. Too soon, they learned that jobs are not easy to find in Hawai'i, especially not jobs that pay enough to allow one to pay the high rents. Others found jobs, but lost them, especially in the economic downturn of the past five or so years. Then, there is the class of homeless who simply want to live outside. The weather is mild in the islands, making it quite inviting to be out of doors - except when the Kona winds begin to blow, that is.
The homeless are not welcomed by the Hawaiian people. The government doesn't want to pay for them, and the people don't like these modern-day hobos cluttering the landscape. In the days of the hippies, they didn't like their drug-induced, free-love lifestyle, either. As we saw in "The Clock Struck Twelve" (Season 5), the tent cities, or communes, sometimes would be torched by dissidents, sometimes with catastrophic results.
So, why don't those who can't make it in Hawai'i just go home? Because Hawai'i is about 2500 miles from the mainland. They can't hitchhike, after all, and if they can't afford a roof over their heads, they surely can't afford airfare. Quel nightmare!
The following links go to articles about homelessness in the islands and, especially, in Honolulu. They present different points of view, from the homeless person’s take on his situation to the national perspective. Taken together, they present a fairly accurate picture of not only the homeless problem, but also the attitudinal problems in “Paradise.”
“How Bad Is Homelessness in Honolulu?” in Trip Advisor: Honolulu Forum. February 7, 2009. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60982-i38-k2533955-How_bad_is_homelessness_in_Honolulu-Honolulu_Oahu_Hawaii.html
Nagourney, Adam. “For Honolulu’s Homeless, An Eviction Notice” in The New York Times. March 14, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/us/15homeless.html
Henderson, Dean. “Happily Homeless in Honolulu” in Left Hook. March 26, 2012. http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/happily-homeless-in-honolulu/
Matthews, Karleanne. “Tackling Homelessness” in Honolulu Weekly. November 21, 2012. http://honoluluweekly.com/feature/2012/11/tackling-homelessness/
“Hawaii Homelessness” in Honolulu Civil Beat. January 28, 2013. http://www.civilbeat.com/topics/hawaii-homelessness/