Hawaii's largest homeless camp: rock bottom or a model refuge? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Hawaii's largest homeless camp: rock bottom or a model refuge?

Tucked around a corner, a woman named Twinkle Borge greeted the schoolkids from her metal folding chair. A seven-year-old girl tugging a red wagon full of water jugs paused to give Borge a kiss on the cheek. Then all three walked into their home: the largest homeless encampment in Hawaii.

Remarkably, some 200 people live there, and six infants were born there over the past year alone. Even in the state with the highest homelessness rate in the US, it draws attention. Yet while residents acclaim it as a novel community that incorporates ancient Hawaiian principles, it is now at risk of being swept away.

“We know from what we’ve seen in the past, once an encampment goes above a certain size, it becomes unmanageable,” said Scott Morishige, the governor’s coordinator on homelessness.

Borge has been acclaimed by the Hawaiian legislature for “practicing pu’uhonua, one of Hawaii’s most valued ideologies”. Pu’uhonua is an ancient Hawaiian term for a place of refuge, or a sacred place where miscreants can find forgiveness and a clean slate.

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