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In photos: Living homeless in a Hawaiian paradise

Hawaii has the highest rate of homelessness in any US state.

Homeless in Paradise Photo Essay A homeless man drinks water while sitting on the beach at Ala Moana Beach Park located near Waikiki in Honolulu. Source: AP

HAWAII HAS LONG been known as a tropical paradise, but in recent years another image has intruded into the state’s carefully crafted one of idyllic beaches and relaxing resorts: homelessness.

The number of homeless people has grown in recent years, leaving the state with the USA’s highest rate per capita, above New York and Nevada.

Many of the homeless, however, defy the stereotype of the mentally ill or drug addicted.

They are families, with men and women who work full-time jobs. They are struggling to get a foothold in a place with a high cost of living and low wages.

Kuulei Kealoha Source: AP

Kuulei Kealoha dives into the ocean to cool off in Waianae, Hawaii. The 40-year-old homeless woman is among nearly 300 people living in an encampment.

Homeless in Paradise Photo Essay Source: AP

A boy who goes by MJ is soaked in rain as a woman pulls nails from a pallet to use them to build a makeshift tent.

Deja-Lynn Rombawa-Quarles Source: AP

Deja-Lynn Rombawa-Quarles, a 24-year-old homeless woman who works part time at an elementary school as a group leader. 

Foster Waynewright Source: AP

Foster Waynewright, 28-year-old homeless man, leans on a post while resting in Kakaako Waterfront Park

Kifency Kinny, J. Jee Suzuki, Keioleen Helly Source: AP

A makeshift tent at a homeless encampment in the Kakaako district of Honolulu. 

John Tuilata, Roy Kalama, Tiare Talo Source: AP

John Tuilata, Tiare Talo and Roy Kalama, wash themselves using public showers.

Dexter Lii Source: AP

Dexter Lii, a retired surf instructor, and his dog sit in a minivan.

Lohe Akau Source: AP

Lohe Akau, a 55-year-old homeless construction worker, carries his bodyboard through a homeless encampment.

Homeless in Paradise Photo Essay Source: AP

A boy stands in the rain in front of makeshift tents.

Menjen Enlet, Love Enlet Source: AP

Menjen Enlet and her aunt, Love Enlet, make a heart shape with their arms for photos while visiting their homeless relatives with whom they used to share an apartment in Honolulu.

- All photos by AP Photo/Jae C. Hong.

Read: Man dies from college dorm fall after trying to talk man down from 14 storey ledge >

Read: Woman discovers the homeless man she is photographing is her father >

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Associated Press

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