Waimanalo housing project airs their dirty laundry - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Waimanalo housing project airs their dirty laundry

Michael Tsuji Michael Tsuji
Jessica Hikalea Jessica Hikalea
Denise Wise Denise Wise
Teri Okita amidst washing machines that must be removed Teri Okita amidst washing machines that must be removed
Dirty laundry piling up at the Kauhale Ohana housing project Dirty laundry piling up at the Kauhale Ohana housing project

By Teri Okita – bio | email

WAIMANALO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tenants went toe-to-toe Thursday with State Health and Public Housing officials. They've been told their washing machines are in violation of state health codes and that they'd have to give them up, effective immediately.

Residents at Kauhale Ohana housing project have a laundry list of grievances for health and housing officials. One resident said, "So, how is that supposed to be, make anybody feel better when we're sitting here always frustrated, always thinking about getting evicted again?

Two years ago, their community laundry room shut down due to vandals. Over time, tenants started bringing in washers to their homes, but there aren't any sinks or sewer lines to connect to, so, into streams and storm drains their dirty wash water went.

Michael Tsuji, from the Department of Health says, "The washing machine wash water could contain detergent, bleach, fabric softeners, and possibly other contaminants that could harm the environment."

The department of health says, if these washers aren't removed, and soon, there could be fines up to $25,000 per day, per violation. Even worse: the threat of eviction.

Jessica Hikalea voiced her frustrations at the meeting. She has six kids and a whole lot of laundry that keeps piling up without a washer. Now, she skips the local Fluff-N-Fold in Waimanalo for a cheaper one in Kailua.

She expressed, "It's going to get resolved, but how long?"

Housing officials tell them it could be sixty days before they get funding to re-supply their laundry room. Denise Wise, Executive Director for Hawaii Public Housing Authority said, "I'll be honest with you, if I could have shown up here with the washing machines, I'd have done it, but I can't do that so we're trying to work with them and with that, manage expectations."

Residents have thirty days to remove these machines and hope that their frustrations can somehow come out in the wash.

 

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