Disability Rights

Federal laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities and require equal access to government programs such as public housing projects and medical care. Hawai‘i Appleseed has been involved in systemic litigation to ensure individuals with disabilities are able to access integrated medical care and housing, including reasonable accommodations.

Accessibility and ADA Compliance in Public Housing

Hawai‘i Appleseed has pursued class action litigation on behalf of individuals with disabilities seeking enforcement of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and United States Housing Act to ensure equal access and basic standards of habitability in public housing facilities in Hawai`i. These federal law suits challenged the state’s decades-long failure to correct the unsafe and unsanitary conditions at Kuhio Park Terrace (KPT) and Kuhio Homes (KH), and Mayor Wright Homes as violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Fair Housing Act. These federal laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities and require equal access to government programs such as public housing projects.

Kuhio Park Terrace and Kuhio Homes

KPT is the state’s largest housing complex and is comprised of two 16 story towers that contained 618 units. Kuhio Homes is an adjoining 2 story complex comprised of 125 units. Hawai‘i Appleseed has successfully resolved these class action lawsuits. The settlements included the installation of six new elevators, new garbage chutes and fire alarm system, restoration of reliable hot water and implementation of an appropriate vermin prevention program. The settlements also included the implementation of a new policy on providing reasonable accommodations, timeframes for mandated actions and removal of public barriers at KPT and Kuhio Homes. A private/public partnership created after the successful resolution of the case has resulted in over $150 million being allocated for a complete restoration of the complex. Click here to read more about this case.

Mayor Wright

Similar to our KPT/KH litigation, this current federal class action suit against the Hawai`i Public Housing Authority (HPHA) charges that the unsafe and unsanitary conditions at Mayor Wright Homes violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Fair Housing Act. Mayor Wright Homes is the HPHA’s oldest and second largest project with 365 units. The goals of the case include requiring the HPHA provide reasonable accommodations to disabled residents, restoration of reliable hot water, design and implement a comprehensive vermin extermination program, improve maintenance and security of the facility and eliminate unsafe and unsanitary conditions found throughout the project that exacerbate and cause disabilities. Click here to read more about this case.