Happy New Year
By Sanford L. Hill

The January 31th 2014 front page of the Maui News captured life on Maui, and in America, as we begin 2015.   I doubt that the two stories were put next to each other intentionally to show the huge divide between the jet set wealthy and older paraplegic poor on the Island.   I also doubt many readers connected the dots between the two stories.  Ignorance is bliss.
One story is about two homeless paraplegics who are in there seventies and longtime residents of Maui.  They have been living with friends since they became homeless due to high rents and a 3-5 year waiting list for low income housing.  The same reasons I, and many other people, are homeless today.  They now face life on the street in a few days.   Hopefully their front page story will save them.   People feel good helping people in the news for some reason, like they’re the only ones that need help.
I found it sad that Jo-Ann Ridao, Maui county director of Housing and Human Concerns said the situation of these two homeless sick people are a “very rare occurrences”.   She also recommended that they seek help from the Family Life Center and Ka Hale A Ke Ola (KHAKO) homeless center.  She should know better.
 I’ve stayed at Family Life Center and am currently living at KHAKO homeless shelter.   God help them if they end up here, though I don’t think they would be admitted.   If they are, they will suffer silently in squalor with the many other elderly sick and disabled people living here who society has abandoned so the rich have a place to park their jets.  It’s not a “rare occurrences”, nor front page news.  Out of sight, out of mind.
The second story is about the annual traffic jam of private jets at Maui’s airport.  These are the super affluent coming to stay at their luxury private and corporate homes on Maui that remain empty most of the year.   No shelter shortage for these folks behind their locked gates and private beaches.   Sure they throw the poor some crumbs, but they have plenty of bread.
Alas, these stories are connected.  The reason the former paraplegic NASA worker and fruit stand owner are homeless is directly related to the resources taken by the wealthy for their opulent lifestyles and private jets.   Believe me, these jets required a lot of resources, many of them quietly paid for by John Q. public.  Stupidly, the taxpayer will also pay for the huge increase in medical cost of these aging disabled people caused by the physical and mental stress of being homeless. 
Since I became homeless just over a year ago I have been hospitalized three times, had two major surgeries, and been taken by ambulance to the emergency room twice.  Before I was homeless I had never been hospitalized, had major surgery, or been in an ambulance.   This will be many times the price of renting them housing, even at market rates.  This cost the taxpayers over $100,000.00 dollars.  This is many times the price of renting me housing, even at market rates.   I guess will just increase our debt again, it’s only funny money anyway.  I feel sorry for the people still here when the can we’ve been kicking reaches the end of the road.
So, welcome to the bizarre, illogical, hypocritical and totally unsustainable New Year.   I will try and used this blog and website as a voice of reason from the perspective of those at the bottom of the economic ladder for as long as I can…Aloha.