State health officials fail to take action against Kaimuki squalor home

State health officials fail to take action against Kaimuki squalor home
Published: Jun. 10, 2015 at 3:58 AM HST
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KAIMUKI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A house of squalor in Kaimuki remains untouched with heaps of trash fouling up the neighborhood.

Neighbors are in disbelief, wondering what it takes to get help from anyone in the government.

City and state officials are well aware of that property where the yard is piled so high with junk you can barely see the home.

State officials said its Sanitation Branch had not received any complaints about the home on 2nd Avenue. But one neighbor said she has kept a record of each time she called the state and the city which dates back to 2004.

Yet, the mess is still there. And at night it gets worse when rats and roaches come out. In addition, when it rains or gets windy, the smell is almost unbearable.

On Tuesday, Hawaii News Now learned the state never sent a health inspector to see the property first hand. That's despite telling us nearly three weeks ago they would. A health department spokesperson said it's because they "don't recognize a public health issue in this situation."

"One time we heard the rats eating our lumber from under the house, the next day I set traps I got five. The very next day I caught two more. I waited a week, set it again, I caught two more," said neighbor Steven Nakasone.

"One time we caught more than 50 roaches. I'm sure we missed a whole bunch. But yeah, one night they were flying everywhere," Sandy Nakasone said.

Residents of this neighborhood say they have given up hope on our state and city officials.

"We've been here over 20 years already and a good 15 years away have been this way," Steven said.

A recent picture shows what appears to be a squatter sleeping on the heap of junk.

Several neighbors said the woman who owns the house hasn't been there in about a year. They believe she may be at the state mental hospital.

"I don't think the woman is capable of taking care of the property any longer," said Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi.

Kobayashi helped pass Bill 52 last year, giving the city the power to clear junk from private property.

"It's terrible to live next door to a place like that. And yet, the city was kind of reluctant, she was paying her property tax, so you don't want to evict her and have her homeless," Kobayashi said.

Kobayashi said if the owner no longer lives on the property, it is easier to implement the new law.

The city's Department of Planning and Permitting issued a statement saying. “The Department of Planning and Permitting is working with city attorneys to initiate foreclosure proceedings against the owner of the property. Meanwhile, DPP will seek a court order to enter the property and clean it up. We are checking with cleanup companies to get bids. Neighbors are asked to notify DPP when the owner is at the property so we can inform her of the DPP's intended actions.

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