Waikiki Business Improvement District Association

Photos Courtesy of the WBIDA

George Shimoda helps anyone he encounters in Waikiki, from giving directions to warning them about jaywalking. It’s part of his job as an “aloha ambassador,” a program run by the Waikiki Business Improvement District Association (WBIDA). The nonprofit, made up of local businesses to keep Waikiki safe and clean, also oversees the maintenance of sidewalks and helps pay for police overtime work. One of the WBIDA’s major concerns is Waikiki’s growing homeless population, says executive director Jan Yamane. According to a University of Hawaii study, there are 261 homeless people in the district each night. Last year, the WBIDA donated money to the Waikiki Health Center to hire an outreach worker for homeless in the area, but a long-term plan is still needed. “It’s a complex situation that cannot be solved by one government agency or one business or one social-service organization,” says Yamane.