Thank you for visiting the online home of LEJ. Hawai`i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice (LEJ) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) law firm created to advocate on behalf of low income individuals and families in Hawai`i on civil legal issues of statewide importance and to complement the assistance provided by existing legal services providers in the state. We hope you return often to stay up-to-date on the newest developments and successes we achieve here at LEJ.
On May 16, 2013, Hawaii Appleseed Center and students from the University of Hawaii School of Architecture presented the results of their housing design competition featuring ultra-affordable, modular microunits aimed at addressing Hawaii's severe affordable housing shortage and homelessness crisis. Click here to read more about the competition, including entries and winners. For pictures from this event, please click here.
PBS Hawaii, Island Insights with Dan Boylan, Legislation to assist low-income wage earners
On March 28, 2013, Executive Director Victor Geminiani appeared on Island Insights with Dan Boylan as one of the panel members discussing various legislation that could improve the economic well-being of low-income workers. Legislation discussed included raising the minimum wage, instituting a state Earned Income Tax Credit, and creating a Poverty Tax Credit. Click here to read more about our legislative activities and click here to read more about our tax advocacy.
Federal Court issues Preliminary Injunction, Orders State of Hawai`i to Improve SNAP Delivery System for Timely Processing of Applications
In November 2010, LEJ brought federal claims, seeking to correct the Department of Human Service’s ongoing and persistent failure to process in timely manner applications for Hawai`i’s poorest families who seek Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. On November 16, 2011, almost one full year after litigation commenced, Federal District Court Judge Ezra issued an Order for Preliminary Injunction, mandating the State of Hawai`i take immediate action to improve delivery systems and meet Federal guidelines for timely processing of food stamp eligibility determinations. Read More
"Gang activity, rat infestations, deteriorating walls and ceilings, and, until this June, no hot, running water. For the approximately 1,100 tenants of Mayor Wright Homes, this is life. Years of neglect forced residents to sue the state. Lawyers want to settle the case this year to finally reverse these deplorable conditions. But for these residents, positive change has been years in the making." Read More
Governor Abercrombie Appeals Federal Injunction blocking DHS from Discriminating against Immigrants and COFA Residents in Providing Medical Benefits
In July 2010, Department of Human Service severely limited medical benefits for legal immigrants in the United States for less than 5 years and residents from the 3 Micronesian nations included in the Compact or Free Associations (COFA). Both groups were enrolled in a new, significantly less comprehensive health program called Basis Health Hawai`i (BHH) solely on the basis of their nationality and immigrant status. In August 2010, LEJ, in partnership with Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, and Bronster Hoshibata, filed a class action suit seeking an injunction forbidding DHS from violating the constitutional rights, as protected by the Equal Protection Clause, of these new immigrant residents in Hawai`i, and residents present under the Compact of Free Association (COFA). In December 2010 Federal District Court Judge Seabright issue a preliminary injunction enjoining the State of Hawai`i from continuing Basic Health Hawai`i, and restoring health services for Micronesian individuals. The State of Hawai`i is appealing this decision to the 9th Circuit. Briefing finished in September 2011. Amicus Briefs from the NAACP, Japanese American Citizens League, and Kokua Kalihi Valley Health Center were filed in September 2011. The case currently waits for panel selection and a hearing before the 9th Circuit panel. More about this impact litigation here
LEJ has long provided attorney representation to disabled individuals and their families seeking Veterans and Social Security benefits.
LEJ is pleased to announce that in addition to this program, we are now maintaining a website to answer many of the questions individuals have about these programs. So that the individuals who need this information can find it as easily as possible, we maintain this site separately from our main site here: www.lejdisability.org
Although this site already receive hits from all over the world, it remains a work in progress. If there is information not on this site that you would like to see, please send us an e-mail here.
Seeking to end notoriously unsafe, unsanitary, and inaccessible conditions at Mayor Wright attorneys for a group of low-income residents with disabilities filed class action lawsuits in federal and state court against the State of Hawai`i and the Hawaii Public Housing Authority. More about this impact litigation here.