Governor lauds changes at Mayor Wright Homes

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fifteen months after touring Mayor Wright Homes and promising to fix problems with hot water in residential units and improve safety throughout the public housing complex, Governor Neil Abercrombie was back to get a first-hand look at the changes.

"The grass is cut. The garbage is picked up. The place is clean. The fence has been put up to keep the drug dealers out. You see the landscaping coming in. There's going to be more landscaping here. You see the security. One of the first things people said is they feel safe. And the apartments are being rehabilitated," Abercrombie said. "When people have a decent place to live, they live decently," he added.

By July, 2011 tankless water heaters had been installed on all buildings so every unit has hot running water. In February, 2012 a new security team was hired. And now a taller fence is being built around the perimeter of the housing complex to make it more difficult for outsiders to sneak onto the grounds undetected by security. Residents are also being issued identification cards that will help security determine who belongs and who doesn't.

"I would like to say, 'Yes.' It's been changes. It's been progressing and I love it," said resident Sharmane Botelho.

"I see great change. Before, because I have a disability, you come outside you always got to be watching your back. This way, now when I come outside, I don't have to do that because I know the security is around. The police are around. It's big big difference," added resident Rita Rivera.

A longtime resident did tell us he does not like the new fence because it makes him feel like he lives in a prison, but even he said the housing project is safer now than it was a year ago.

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