There’s Hope for the Human Race Yet

Squeezed February 9, 2006

Seems all we hear about these days is bad news. War in Iraq. Corruption in Congress. Politics in disarray. Sick people being thrown out on the street.

So it warms my heart to find that people are still good and kind at heart. Take this case of…well…a sick person who, if not for the generosity of strangers, would have been thrown out on the street.

The Star-Bulletin on Monday, as part of a story on a rent crackdown in public housing, highlighted the story of Josephine Wong, who until that day lived at Kuhio Park Terrace with her twelve-year-old daughter. Suffering from lupus and effectively disabled, Wong found herself over $5,000 in arrears…about two years behind. Her welfare check barely covered her medical bills and medicine. To have to choose between medicine and shelter…that’s a choice that no one should have to make.

Wong found herself on the receiving end of a tougher rent collection policy that eliminated the administrative appeals process for public-housing evictions. Rather than allow the appellant to stay through the process, the agency has the option to turn the person out while the appeal is in process. Given the backlog in public housing, such a move might be understandable, but it certainly doesn’t do much for the equally large homelessness problem. Needless to say, advocates for housing and the homeless are not happy about this.

In any case, still unable to make rent and unable to convince the powers-that-be to show more mercy, Wong would have been sleeping that night in Ala Moana Park, were it not for the generosity of broadcaster Network Media. The tourism-oriented broadcaster put Wong and her daughter up in one of their client hotels and offered assistance in finding a rental, payment of Wong’s rent for at least a year, and assistance in finding a job for Wong.

Now that’s the aloha spirit at work, folks. Taking care of each other like family. Kudos to Network Media and the two other companies that made offers of assistance to Wong through the Star-Bulletin.

I think there’s hope for this world yet.

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