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.
- Hawaii Public Housing Authority Executive Director blames lawyers for problems at Mayor Wright Homes, October 31, 2012
- Hawaii Public Housing Authority Sued for violations of ADA and unsafe conditions, April 21, 2011
In the News
- The risks or righting Mayor Wright's wrongs, Civil Beat, June 7, 2013
- Mayor Wright tenants: Roaches, rats just part of the major problems, KITV, June 7, 2013
- Kalihi Public Housing Lawsuit Negotiations Continue, Hawaii Public Radio, December 20, 2011
- Public Housing Hell, Honolulu Magazine, October 2011
- Ensure that public housing serves its intended purpose, Star-Advertiser, June 11, 2011
- State owes Mayor Wright tenants, Honolulu Star Advertiser, April 25, 2011
- Housing project residents file suits, Honolulu Star Advertiser, April 22, 2011
- Mayor Wright residents sue state over alleged unsanitary conditions, Honolulu Star Advertiser, April 21, 2011
- Cold water plagues Mayor Wright residents, Honolulu Star Advertiser, February 5, 2011
- A house on fire: Hawaii's public housing crisis, Honolulu Advertiser special series, August 17-19, 2008
- Hawaii plan tackles public housing crisis,August 17, 2008
- Reluctant turnovers defeat housing's goal, August 17, 2008
- High hopes and dashed dreams in Kalihi public housing areas, August 18, 2008
- Palolo Valley tenants seek bigger role, August 18, 2008
- Hawaii public housing authority seeks solutions on Mainland, August 19, 2008
- Chief brings can-do spirit to agency, August 19, 2008
- 'It's like we're second-class citizens', Honolulu Advertiser, October 24, 2007