I touched on the issue of homelessness in A Chant of Love and Lamentation, as it has long been problematic in Hawai’i. The source of the problem runs deep into mental health, drugs, and the high cost of living, but homeless from other parts of the nation are often given a one-way ticket to Hawai’i. Sending them to the islands is often seen as a great solution because they end up in a place where they never have to worry about freezing temperatures, and those who send them probably think they are doing something good, but the fact that they can’t come back is obviously a major part of it. Hawai’i has lost most of its agricultural land to development, making it an import economy which is particularly dependent upon others, plus the notoriously high cost of living makes it very hard for someone without the right combination of education, startup funds, support networks, and job prospects to better their situation.
In Chant, the homelessness situation becomes rapidly worse following a one-two punch of economic and social disorder, and tosses fuel to the smoldering fire of unrest. This situation will only get worse before it can get better.