”Aloha” means “goodbye” these days, even when it comes from a group that usually likes showing the love. The nonprofit Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) does outreach, usually helping visitor victims of crime to leave the islands feeling a bit consoled.
Now it’s used money from the Hawaii Tourism Authority to help fly people home after they’ve been caught violating the state’s pandemic quarantine mandate. Some of the visitors need that assist with the airfare. So it’s tough love, but love all the same.
A pop-up facility for homeless
Dozens of blue-and-white tents now dotting Keehi Lagoon Beach Park are temporarily housing homeless people who have no COVID-19 symptoms. After a 15-day stay at the “POST,” Provisional Outdoor Screening and Triage Facility, they’re eligible for shelter intake, permanent housing and other services.
Established by Honolulu Hale and the city’s police department, the pop-up is part of a much-needed statewide response to addressing homelessness during the pandemic. Also in place: a quarantine and isolation center in Iwilei, set upfor unsheltered people who have virus symptoms or are awaiting test results.