Mayor Wright Housing Litigation

Hawai`i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice represents tenants seeking enforcement of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and United States Housing Act to ensure equal access and basic standards of habitability at Mayor Wright Homes.

Update: This litigation settled in March 2015. Read more about the litigation and settlement in Civil Beat, State Settles Suit Over Substandard Public Housing for $350K.

Below is a video of infestation of 3 units at Mayor Wright:

If you have difficulty viewing the video, click here to view the video on YouTube.

Kolio et. al v. Koller

Seeking to end notoriously unsafe conditions and inaccessible apartments at the Mayor Wright Homes (MWH), the state’s second largest public housing project, Hawai`i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, along with co-counsel filed class action lawsuits in federal and state court today against the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.

The federal suit charges that the unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the project violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act. These federal laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities and require equal access to government programs including public housing projects. The relief sought includes a court order requiring the State to cease its decades long violations of federal law by providing public housing that is accessible to disabled residents and by eliminating the unsafe and unsanitary conditions that exacerbate and cause disabilities.

A separate lawsuit filed in state Circuit Court alleges that the Housing Authority has breached its obligations to residents under the warranty of habitability-a warranty implied in all residential leases under state law. The warranty binds landlords to maintain premises in decent, safe and sanitary conditions.

The housing facilities at MWH are characterized by architectural barriers, leaking and bursting plumbing, an almost total lack of hot water, vermin infestation including rats, roaches and bedbugs, overflowing trash piles, toxic air filed with noxious particulates, inconsistent security and hazardous and inaccessible conditions.

Despite the unequivocal and longstanding mandates of federal disability nondiscrimination statutes, years of media coverage of the serious problems at MWH and the HPHA’s own 2008 audit of the deplorable and hazardous conditions throughout the project, the HPHA has failed to address the numerous problems that permeate MWH.

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