HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents of Mayor Wright Housing in Liliha who have lived without hot water, or consistent hot water, for years are encouraged by the response they got while lobbying at the state capitol Friday.
Tenant association president Fetu Kolio led a groups of more than 25 tenants at the state low income housing development from office to office asking lawmakers for financial support so hot water can be provided to all Mayor Wright residents.
At noon they made an unannounced visit to governor Neil Abercrombie's office. Abercrombie was at home nursing inner ear inflammation, but members of his staff met with the residents.
"We're hoping that we can work with this administration to get some sort of allocation funding prioritized from maybe the budget," Kolio explained.
"It shouldn't have to come to this, and I want you to know the governor feels exactly the same way. The budget that he presented earlier has funds for all the repairs and things that need to happen," responded Andrew Aoki, Abercrombie's deputy chief of staff. "We'll get to the bottom of this and we'll make it happen," he added.
It was not a written guarantee, but an assurance from the governor's office that the cold water at Mayor Wright is moving to the front burner. The legislature will need to cooperate by approving Abercrombie's budget request.
"It was good news. Governor's aware of the issue. Governor is aware of the issue and feels that it would have not gotten this far," Kolio said after leaving the governor's office.
Spokesperson Donalyn Dela Cruz said Abercrombie not only wants to allocate funding for fix the water problems at Mayor Wright, he would like to speed up the procurement process so the work gets done as soon as possible.
There is no estimate yet on how much the upgrades will cost.
Some of the 364 units at Mayor Wright have hot water 24-hours a day. Others only have hot water when there is enough sun to heat water in solar systems mounted on roof tops. And some units never have hot water. It seems no one has an accurate and updated count on the number of units in each category.