Mayor Wright tenants: Roaches, rats just part of major problems

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Jun 07 2013 06:30:00 PM HST

Ants, roaches, and rats. Those are just some of the problems tenants at Mayor Wright Housing say they are living with. KITV4's Nana Ohkawa has details of a new report by a group calling for change.

HONOLULU -

Ants, roaches, and rats. Those are just some of the problems tenants at Mayor Wright Homes said they are living with. The Kalihi complex is home to more than 300 low-income families.

A 31-page report outlining problems at the housing complex was compiled by the homeless advocacy group Faith Action for Community Equity, or FACE. The group surveyed 85 tenants over two months.

Among the problems cited -- 35 percent of windows need replacing, many are patched with tape; washing machines blocking access to sinks; and sink cabinets that are falling apart.  Tenants say appliances at Mayor Wright Homes are just downright old and broken.

"I think a lot of the opinion is, things are just going to get fixed by putting a band-aid on an open cut," said James Fitzpatrick, community organizer of FACE.

Tenants said one of the biggest problems in the units are the bathrooms.  There is water damage that leaves holes where pests like cockroaches come through.

"Whenever we sleep the cockroaches come out. When it's dark they sometimes come on our head and stuff," said resident Miterin Miecho.

Cockroaches seem to be everywhere, in cabinets, and crawling on counter tops.  The pests are one major problem. But leaks and mold around bathtubs, cracks in floors and rust leave FACE and some tenants saying the place can't just be repaired. There needs to be a full renovation.  

"We want to feel comfortable living in here with everything fixed," said resident Ethleen Leichy.

"Real people live here. These are real homes, and just because they are low-income homes or down-on-luck kind of families, they are still families," said Fitzpatrick.

The Hawaii Housing Authority told KITV last weekend that repairs are planned, but a full renovation will most likely not happen for another two to three years.

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