Oahu’s Homeless: 4.7%

Homeless on Oahu’s leeward coast triple in three years
WAIANAE, Hawaii (AP) Homeless advocates say the number of homeless on Oahu’s leeward coast has tripled in three years. Most of those who have no place to live sleep in the area’s public parks. Hundreds of campsites dominate beaches from Nanakuli to Keaau, turning the 16-mile coastline into a tent city. The Waianae Community Outreach center serving the area’s homeless handled about one thousand individual homeless clients in 2002. Last year, the center served more than three times as many individuals _ or over thirty four hundred people. Another five hundred new clients have signed up this year. Stanlyn Placencia is the executive director of the Waianae program. She says the homeless situation on the coast has moved beyond being a crisis to being an epidemic. -by Associated Press

The downside of the urban sprawl life:  Why do people go hungry here in Hawaii when there is enough  land, water, sunshine, God-given seeds to supply food for everyone?To understand why people go hungry you must stop thinking about food as something farmers grow for others to eat, and begin thinking about it as something companies produce for other people to buy.

  • Food is a commodity. …
  • Much of the best agricultural land in the world and in Hawaii is used to grow commodities such as cotton, sisal, tea, tobacco, sugar cane, and cocoa, items which are non-food products or are marginally nutritious, but for which there is a large market.
  • Millions of acres worldwide of potentially productive farmland is used to pasture cattle, an extremely inefficient use of land, water and energy, but one for which there is a market in wealthy countries.
  • More than half the grain grown in the United States (requiring half the water used in the U.S.) is fed to livestock, grain that would feed far more people than would the livestock to which it is fed. …

The problem, of course, is that people who don’t have enough money to buy food (and more than one billion people earn less than $1.00 a day), simply don’t count in the food equation.

  • In other words, if you don’t have the money to buy food, no one is going to grow it for you.
  • Put yet another way, you would not expect The Gap to manufacture clothes, Adidas to manufacture sneakers, or IBM to provide computers for those people earning $1.00 a day or less; likewise, you would not expect ADM (“Supermarket to the World”) to produce food for them.

What this means is that ending hunger requires doing away with poverty, or, at the very least, ensuring that people have enough money or the means to acquire it, to buy, and hence create a market demand for food.

Richard H. Robbins, Readings on Poverty, Hunger, and Economic Development

A common view about hunger is that it is caused by a scarcity of food.  As this article from Food First reveals, scarcity is not the problem.  The article questions the idea that we are running out of land to farm, even in areas where hunger is most severe.