!"#$%&'%()*+,&-$.

,(/)&01/"/+&
2113,&4,,1,,51/+&617$%+&
&
Put Together by F aith A ction for Community E quity and the T enants of
M ayor W rights.

T able of Contents
C O V E R P A G E ........................................................... ii
T A B L E O F C O N T E N TS ........................................... ii
PR E F A C E ................................................................ iiii
I N T R O D U C T I O N .................................................... iiv
Review of T enant Needs Assessment ........................ 1
I. Basic ....................................................................... 1
II. Living Room .......................................................... 6
III. Kitchen ................................................................. 9
IV. Bedrooms ........................................................... 13
V. Bathroom ............................................................. 18
VI. Linen Closet ....................................................... 22
VII. Other ................................................................. 24
Conclusion ................................................................. 31
A ppendices ................................................................ 33
1. Tenant Needs Assessments .................................. 34
!

ii

Preface
The Mayor Wrights Tenant Needs Assessment (TNA) looks a little bit like a Capital
Needs Assessment done by an architect, but its different in some important ways, and it is not
SURGXFHGE\H[SHUWV«DWOHDVWQRWH[DFWO\
The TNA was created after interviewing over two hundred residents in person, and
extensively covers eighty-five units dispersed throughout the complex. We believe this random
sampling gives a good feel not only of the physical needs of the property, but also with the spirit
of the place.
Residents were deeply committed to the process of producing this report ± and we hope it
will demonstrate the value of their local knowledge of the complex. As one resident leader said,
³,¶YHOLYHGKHUH\HDUV± I know a lot about living here, you could say I am an expert on Mayor
:ULJKWVRUHYHQRQSXEOLFKRXVLQJ´
3XEOLFKRXVLQJLQWKH8QLWHG6WDWHVKDVEHHQSODJXHGE\VRFDOOHG³H[SHUWV´± architects,
social engineHUVSHRSOHZLWKGHJUHHVLQPDQDJLQJWKHOLYHVRIWKHSRRU0RVWO\LWKDVQ¶WZRUNHG
very well. From the creation of ghettos in the sixties to the mass displacement and gentrification
of the nineties, resident voices have rarely been at the forefront of reconstruction, redevelopment
or renewal.
Mayor Wrights residents hope that it might be different this time, and are excited to help
plan their future.

iii

Introduction
Affordable housing in general and public housing renovation in particular have been a
SDUWRI)$&(¶VFRUHDJHQGDIRURYHU\HDUVDQGZHKDYHEHHQDGYRFDWLQJIRUDWWHQWLRQWR
Mayor Wright housing for over four years. Mayor Wright Housing is an aging complex with
real repair and social issues that nevertheless serves as the housing of last resort for over 300 of
2DKX¶VORZ-income families. Sadly the outside image of the complex is shaped by news
coverage of negative events like the recent stabbing. However a closer look into the place shows
a tightly knit community of people struggling to make ends meet. Lavish individual gardens,
resident repair of their own units and programs like Weed and Seed are the other side of the
Mayor Wright story and demonstrate the power of the residents to make things better.
FACE believes that there is a wealth of wisdom and knowledge in the current resident
population that can be tapped to help plan for the sites future. Over the years the biggest
problems in public housing were created by well meaning but technocratic social engineers who
refused to listen to the people they were set up to serve. This has led to problems both here and
on the mainland.
Fortunately in Hawaii there has been a turn in recent years towards independent and
serious resident involvement. Starting with the Lingle administration and continuing through the
Mayoral terms of Hanneman, Carlisle and Caldwell there has been a new effort on lifting up
resident voices and ideas as housing is sold, rehabbed or redeveloped.
Mayor Wright Housing represents the first foray into redevelopment under Governor
$EHUFURPELH¶VDGPLQLVWUDWLRQDQGLWVRXWFRPHZLOOVD\DORWDERXWWKHOHJDF\RIRXUFXUUHQW
Governor and his housing team. The redevelopment of Mayor Wrights offers our state a
tremendous opportunity to get things right. Part of getting it right is listening carefully to
resident voices like the ones in this report.
FACE and the residents are optimistic and excited about the chance to make big changes
at this complex!

iv

I. Basic

1

A. Front Door

Front Door

OK
48%

Repair
31%

Replace
21%

The front doors of many of the apartments are in need of repair or replacement. Many of
the comments that were received from residents showed that the doors do not fit properly, have
unfixable structural problems, or have non-functioning doorknobs or locks.
7KHGRRUVWKDWGRQRWILWSURSHUO\FUHDWHDVSDFHZKHUH³URGHQWVDUHJHWWLQJLQWRWKHKRXVH
IURPXQGHUWKHGRRU´:KLOHHQWU\LQWRWKHKRXVHE\URGHQWVLVQRWOLPLWHGWRWKHIURQWGRRUWKLV
creates an easy entry point for these unwanted intruders.
Cracks, termites and other internal problems were also frequently mentioned.
Problems with non-functioning or loose doorknobs and locks create a security problem.
Many of the doors also had peeling paint, and in one case no paint at all after it was installed.
Many of the doors are old, and without proper care will need to be replaced.
B. Downstairs Windows
Downstairs
Windows

OK
43%

Repair
21%

Rusted windows make it difficult for
tenants to open and close them.

Replace
36%
Many of the windows are in need of repair. The
biggest problem is that many of the windows are old
and rusted, making it very difficult to open and close.
There were also several complaints of louvers falling
out of windows easily and breaking. A recurring
problem with many of the windows is that many of the
curtain rods in that hold up the curtains covering the
downstairs windows have screws that have stripped the
holes that they are screwed in to, meaning that they do
not stay in the wall.

2

C. Back Door
Back Door

OK
40%

Repair
22%

Replace
38%

The back doors of the units have many of the same problems as the front door. For
H[DPSOHWKH³VSDFLQJ>EHWZHHQWKHGRRUDQGIORRU@ZKHQFORVH>d] [allows] roaches [and] mice
>WR@FRPHLQ´'RRUNQREVDQGORFNVZHUHDOVRUHSRUWHGEURNHQRULQQHHGRIUHSDLU7KHGRRUV
also were observed as being old, and many are in need of painting. Chipping paint causes water
and other elements to enter and damage the door. Wooden doors expand when it rains. This
coupled with chipping paint or splintering doors means that when the weather changes and the
door expands, the elements are exposed to the interior of the door.
D. Upstairs Windows
Upstairs
Windows

OK
35%

Repair
30%

Replace
35%

The upstairs windows also had many of the same problems as downstairs windows.
Broken screens, rusty handles, missing glass, and difficulty/inability to open and close were the
most frequently recurring comments from tenants.
E. Walkway
Walkway

OK
67%

Repair
22%

Replace
11%

The Tenant Needs Assessment indicates that the walkways in units are mostly in good
condition. The main issues tenants had with the walkways are chipping paint, floors that need
tile, and cracked floors. The chipping paint is one of the biggest concerns for residents. The
paint in many of the units is old, and when maintenance repaints the walls they do not spend the
time to take the old paint off, but rather paint over it, no matter what condition it is in. One
resident said that when they were looking at their wall when they moved in they noticed mounds
behind the paint. Not knowing what it was they pressed it and cockroach eggs fell out of the
wall. While it was taken care of right away, these problems are common.

3

F. Back Patio
Back Patio

OK
58%

Repair
24%

Replace
18%

While the back patio of units have a variety of issues, for the most part many tenants
VHHPHGWRKDYHDSRVLWLYHUHYLHZRILW2QHWHQDQWHYHQGHVFULEHGLWDVD³VHFXUHGSDWLRIHHOV
VDIH´+RZHYHUVRPHRIWKHUHYLHZVZHUHQRWVRSRVLWLYH&UDFNHGIORRUV dim lighting, and
water damage to the ceiling give cause for concern. Some tenants who use the patio to hang
clothes to dry commented that there is not enough space to properly hang the clothes, and the
clothes do not dry properly.
Residents who live on the ground level of their buildings have a gate that opens to the
general grounds. The residents are not allowed to lock this gate. The reason that management has
given for this is that if there is a fire, the lock is a fire hazard. However residents are very
concerned about the security of their homes if they leave this gate open.

G. Lighting
Lighting

OK
65%

Repair
12%

Replace
23%

Many tenants suggested that energy saving lighting would be a good improvement to
make to the units. For some tenants there is a concern about inconsistent lighting, where lights
would going off and on irregularly.
Many of the lighting fixtures are old. They are missing or have broken covers. When
tenants ask maintenance to replace them, maintenance told several residents that they would not
for fear of breaking the light and having to replace the entire thing, which could be very costly.
Another concern many tenants share is that their outlets are old and have insects and
lizards moving freely in and out of them. These pests leave feces and eggs inside the outlets
causing a great deal of concern for tenants.
H. Staircase
Staircase

OK
71%

Repair
16%

Replace
13%

4

The majority of comments about the staircases were positive. The most pressing issue
presented about the staircases was the lack of a handrail or grip to help elderly or disabled
tenants. There is also a concern about old paint chipping off of the walls.
I. Other
Other

OK
44%

Repair
12%

Replace
44%

Additional comments about units showed that curtain rod screws tend to come out of the
walls. Tenants find it difficult to keep curtains up when the screws will not stay in. For one
tenant noise is an issue. Their suggestion for rectifying this problem is to try to find a way to
make the floors sound proof.

5

I I. L iving Room

6

A. Floor
OK
45%

Floor

Repair
30%

Replace
25%

There was a lot of feedback from tenants about the
poor conditions of the floor in their living rooms. Cement

Cracked cement floors are a problem
in many units.

floors that either lack any tile or had tile that is coming off
are prevalent. Cracks and holes in the cement flooring also
cause concern about structural stability.
B. Walls
OK
60%

Walls

Repair
29%

Replace
11%

The biggest concern about the walls in the living room is that the paint is very old and
FKLSSLQJRII2QHWHQDQWFRPPHQWHGWKDWWKHZDOOKDV³QHYHUEHHQSDLQWHGIRUPRUHWKDQtwenty
\HDUV´2QHWHQDQW¶VREVHUYDWLRQLVWKDWLIWKHZDOOLVSDLQWHGUHJXODUO\LWZLOOKHOSVHDOFUDFNVWKDW
insects use to get in.
C. Ceiling
Ceiling

OK
75%

Repair
12.5%

Replace
12.5%

There is an overall positive response from tenants about the ceiling in their living rooms.
There were reports of cracks and paint peeling off, but overall the ceilings are in good shape.
D. Lighting
Lighting

OK
74%

Repair
10%

Replace
16%

Lighting in the living room is very good. Some suggestions for improving the lighting
included new fixtures, brighter lights, and energy efficient lighting.
E. Other
7

Other

OK
28%

Repair
28%

Replace
44%

2YHUDOOWKHWHQDQW¶VELJJHVWFRQFHUQDERXWWKHLUOLYLQJURRPVLVWKHZLQGRZV:LQGRZV
are rusty and difficult to RSHQDQGFORVH2QHWHQDQWUHSRUWHGWKDWWKH\³PDGH>D@ZRUNRUGHU>D@
ORQJWLPHDJRRQHZLQGRZFDQ¶WORFNRQHQHHGVUHSDLU>HG@´
Another concern is that there is a space between the wall and the floor in many units. One
resident believes that this is a result of the age of many of the buildings. According to this
resident, when Mayor Wrights was built, much of the land surrounding the area was
undeveloped. Over the years as more development happened, the ground shifted and the
buildings began to tilt. While this is only speculation, this conception gives residents serious
concerns about the structural stability of the buildings today.

8

I I I. K itchen

9

A. Floor
OK
48%

Floor

Repair
33%

Replace
19%

Kitchen floors were reported as being in good condition. The most commonly repeated
repair is that the tiles are cracked or discolored.
B. Walls
OK
66%

Walls

Repair
22%

Replace
12%

The majority of tenants think that the walls of the kitchen are in good shape. The most
prominent problem ZLWKWKHZDOOVLVWKDWWKH\QHHGWREHSDLQWHG,QRQHXQLWWKH³SDLQWWXUQ>HG@
\HOORZEHFDXVH>RI@QHYHUEHLQJSDLQW>HG@´$QRWKHUWHQDQWLVFRQFHUQHGDERXWWKHFRQGLWLRQRI
WKHGU\ZDOO7KH\ZURWHWKDWWKH³GU\ZDOO>ZDV@SRRUO\GRQH>WKHUHLV@DODrge gap between the
GU\ZDOODQGIORRU>LWZDV@IL[HGZLWKFDXONLQJ´
C. Ceiling
Ceiling

OK
61%

Repair
25%

Replace
14%

A large number of tenants responded positively about the ceilings in the kitchen. The
main concern about the ceiling is that they need painted because the paint is chipping off.
D. Stove
Stove

OK
64%

Repair
13%

Replace
23%

The majority of the stoves in the kitchen were reported as old, but functioning. However,
the problems that some tenants have with their stoves are very serious. In conversation, one
tenant said that the stove door in her unit did not shut properly. When the tenant reported it to
maintenance it was taken for two hours, then returned unfixed. When the tenant reported it again
it was taken and replaced with a used door that still did not work properly. This tenant stated that
many of the repairs done by maintenance were done with old, used parts that created more
problems that they solved. Other tenants reported broken, cracked and infested stoves. Another
10

tenant said that they no longer used her stove because the heating was irregular and roaches are a
constant problem.
E. Refrigerator
Refrigerator

OK
60%

Repair
16%

Replace
24%

The Tenant Needs Assessment shows that many tenants feel that their refrigerators are in
good condition. Yet in conversation, some residents said there were serious problems in their
unit. The main issue is that the refrigerators are old, leaking, and infested. One tenant wrote that
WKH³IULGJHGRHVQRWZRUNJRRGURDFKHVDQGDQWVDUHLQP\IULGJHDQGLW¶V\HOORZ´7KH
difference in what tenants reported in the Tenant Needs Assessment, versus what was visually
shown by tenants can possibly be explained by the fact that many refrigerators still function, and
tenants feel that while it still works it can be used.
F. Countertops
Countertops

OK
43%

Repair
33%

Replace
24%

Many of the countertops are old. These old countertops are cracked, smell, are full of
KROHVDQGIDOOLQJDSDUW2QHWHQDQWZURWHWKDWWKHLUFRXQWHUWRS³VPHOOVOLNHFRFNURDFK´7KH
countertops that are falling apart create space for insects to move freely through the kitchen and
allow leaks to spread further and damage the wall, cabinets and floors.
G. Cabinets
Cabinets

OK
31%

Repair
32%

The cabinets in many of the

Replace
37%
Leaking pipes and old cabinets are common.

units are in very bad condition. They
are old, cracking, infested, and falling
apart. Multiple tenants no longer use
their cabinets because roaches, ants

11

and rats get into food, crawl over plates and leave feces. In conversation, one tenant said that the
roaches in her cabinet were so bad that she decided to bomb her kitchen. After the insecticide ran
its course, she returned to a floor entirely covered with dead roaches of varying size. Rat holes
are also a common occurrence in the worn out cabinets.
H. Lighting
Lighting

OK
78%

Repair
11%

Replace
11%

Lighting in kitchens is good. Multiple tenants suggested that energy efficient lighting
would be a welcome improvement. A few tenants are unhappy with the lighting, claiming that it
is too dim at night.

12

I V. Bedrooms

13

A. Floor

B #1 Floor
B #2 Floor
B #3 Floor
B #4 Floor

OK
51%
62%
59%
50%

Repair
25%
25%
31%
40%

Replace
24%
13%
10%
10%

Many of the comments from tenants about the floors in their bedrooms focus on missing
RUFUDFNHGWLOHV6HYHUDOWHQDQWVFRPPHQWHGWKDWWKH\³QHHGWLOHVWRFRYHUIORRU´RUWKDWWKH\
KDYH³YHU\VWDLQHGWLOHV>WKDW@QHHGWR>EH@FKDQJH>HG@´$ODUJHQXPEHURIWKHXQLWVODFNDQ\VRUW
of floor covering. Rooms without floor coverings instead have concrete floors. If a tenant wants
to cover their cement floor, they have to use their own money to buy tiles or carpeting. The
cracks from walls also create problems for some tenants because water leaks through and
damages the floor. The tenants with cement floors are very concerned about cracks in them.
These cracks can cause leaks to the rooms below them, or create uncertainty about the structural
stability of the building.
B. Walls
B #1 Walls
B #2 Walls
B #3 Walls
B #4 Walls

OK
53%
58%
69%
63%

Repair
33%
30%
25%
32%

Replace
14%
12%
6%
5%
The majority of the walls that were surveyed

Leaks in walls cause damage to walls,
beds, and floors.

are in good condition. The walls that need repairs
done are mainly in need of a fresh coat of paint. The
tenants observed that the paint is very old, some of
the bedrooms have not been painted years. The old
paint is chipping off of the walls. Some of the
bedroom walls have cracks, and holes that allow
insects to enter the room. One tenant wrote that there
DUH³FUDFNVLQZDOOVDOORZLQJDQWVWRFRPHWKURXJK´
Insects (which can include ants, roaches, and rats)
14

getting into the rooms often mean that the tenants have to use their own money to buy pest
control devices. Some of the cracks in the wall are caused by leaking water, which damages the
walls and floor (and anything on the floor).
C. Ceiling
B #1 Ceiling
B #2 Ceiling
B #3 Ceiling
B #4 Ceiling

OK
77%
80%
82%
72%

Repair
15%
7%
15%
22%

Replace
8%
13%
3%
6%

The majority of tenants think the ceilings in their bedrooms are in good condition. There
are a few issues with pipes leaking (or leaks coming through cracks from the unit directly
above), or paint coming off of the ceiling.
D. Lighting
B #1 Lighting
B #2 Lighting
B #3 Lighting
B #4 Lighting

OK
84%
77%
82%
63%

Repair
10%
8%
11%
16%

Replace
6%
15%
7%
21%

Overall lighting conditions in bedrooms are very good. There are several tenants who
suggested that energy saving light bulbs be used in the units. A few tenants who needed repairs
mainly needed to have the covers on their lights fixed. Some tenants commented that the lighting
in their bedrooms were too dim at night, making it difficult to see, or that some of the lighting is
inconsistent.
E. Closet Door
B #1 Closet
Door
B #2 Closet
Door
B#3 Closet
Door
B #4 Closet

OK
48%

Repair
25%

Replace
27%

49%

20%

31%

37%

33%

30%

50%

29%

21%

15

Door
While many tenants do not have a problem with the closet doors in their bedrooms, the
biggest concern for tenants about the door is that their closet lacks one. A lack of a closet door
was by far the most common comment written in the Tenant Needs Assessment. The tenants that
have closet doors that need repairs reported that they fit poorly, or their doorknobs need to be
replaced. It must be noted that the closets are designed not to have a door, so the comments about
the door must have been confused for another door.
F. Closet
B #1 Closet
B #2 Closet
B #3 Closet
B #4 Closet

OK
55%
69%
57%
46%

Repair
19%
14%
33%
31%

Replace
26%
17%
10%
23%

Many tenants like the closet in their bedrooms. One tenant even wrote that it was a,
³JRRGVL]H´:KLOHWKLVLVWKHGRPLQDQWIHHOLQJWKDWWHQDQWVKDYHWKHUHDUHDOVRYHU\UHDO
FRQFHUQVDERXWWKHFORVHWV$QRWKHUWHQDQWZURWH³,GRQ¶WFDOOLWDFORVHWZKHre we hang our
FORWKHVEHFDXVHLW¶VMXVWDVPDOOVSDFHZLWKRXWDGRRU´7KHUHZDVOHVVRIDUHVSRQVHIRUPRUH
paint, or other damage to the closet. Many residents also commented that the rod in the closet
has the same problem and the rod holding up the curtains, it is old and falling out of the wall.
G. Other
B #1 Other
B #2 Other
B #3 Other
B #4 Other

OK
36%
35%
57%
40%

Repair
21%
24%
14%
40%

Replace
43%
41%
29%
20%

The biggest concern for tenants about their bedrooms is the windows. Many of the
windows are rusted and old. They are also difficult to open and close. There were reports that
some window screens fit poorly because of the bad condition the windows are in. Some tenants
have no screens at all. In the Tenant Needs Assessment there are multiple comments that say
WKLQJVVXFKDV³ZLGRZVDUHKDUGWRRSHQDQGFORVH´DQG³ZLQGRZIUDPHVDUHUXVW\´$QRWKHU

16

tenant is very concerned about the metal doors that are in the units. They can be very dangerous.
This tenant has children and fears that they will be injured because of the heavy metal doors.

17

V . Bathrooms

18

A. Floor
OK
34%

Floor

Repair
38%

Replace
28%

The bathroom floors have a lot of issues with cracked or broken tiles. Many are
³VWDLQHG´RU³FRPLQJRII´It needs to be noted that tenants are only allowed to have tiles
covering the floors of the bathrooms and the kitchen. For units with cracked and broken tiles,
water leaks mean the floor is damaged in a place that is very hard to get to.
B. Walls
OK
37%

Walls

Repair
41%

Replace
22%

The feedback from tenants, about the walls of the bathroom, shows a need for repair.
Several tenants expressed a concern about the walls having physical damage, such as water
damage, holes and cracks. Some of these physical damages were caused by maintenance crews
carving holes in the wall to fix pipes or other damage, but never returning (or returning long after
the initial repairs) to fix the holes that were made by these repairs. There were complaints about
water leaking through the walls into other rooms of the units, either from cracks in the walls or
because other fixtures were so old that they no longer were fixed to the walls properly. This
leaking causes water damage to the walls as well as to the other rooms the water leaks into.
Another large concern was for paint that is peeling. Because many of the bathrooms have not
been repainted in a long time, the old paint is peeling. For parents with small children, or walls
that are already damaged by water, peeling paint poses a large problem. In some cases tenants
had not had their bathroom repainted in years.
C. Ceiling
Ceiling

OK
50%

Repair
26%

Replace
24%

A good number of the bathroom ceilings have leaks. Old pipes and incomplete
maintenance repairs cause damage and leaks. Several units complained about leaking from pipes
LQURRPVRUXQLWVDERYHWKHLUEDWKURRPV)RUVHYHUDORIWKHXQLWVWKH³ZDWHUOHDNLQJfrom
XSVWDLUV´LVDUHVXOWRIGDPDJHGSLSHVRUFUDFNVLQWKHIORRUZDOO7KLVOHDNLQJFDXVHVZDWHU
19

damage to both the wall and the ceiling. Another concern
that was raised is that ceilings are uneven, either due to

Many ceilings have holes left
over from repairs.

cracks or chipping paint.

D. Sink
OK
27%

Sink

Repair
30%

Replace
43%

The majority of the sinks that were surveyed need to be replaced due to rust, cracks, or
WKHIDFWWKDWWKH\DUHYHU\ROG2QHWHQDQWFRPPHQWHGWKDWWKHVLQNKDG³ORWVRIUXVW>LWLV@YHU\
ROG´7KHUXVWDQGDJHRIWKHVLQNVKDVFDXVHGVRPHRIWKHPWREHJin falling off the wall. This
separation of the sink from the wall coupled with leaks causes wall damage. One tenant
commented that when they reported the rust in the sink to management, all maintenance did was
paint over the rust. The age of these sinks can be seen in the inability of water to drain. One
WHQDQWVDLGWKHVLQN³GRHVQ¶WGUDLQJRRGZDWHUVLWVIRUPRUHWKDQKDOIDGD\´
E. Toilet
OK
38%

Toilet

Repair
40%

Replace
22%

Like the sinks, many of the toilets are old. The age of the toilets can be seen by comments
VXFKDVWKH\DUH³DOZD\VUXQQLQJ´RUWKDWWKH³WRLOHW>LV@OHDNLQJZDWHURQWRWKHIORRU´7RLOHWV
that drain slowly, leak, have missing screws, or need new seat covers were also repeatedly
UHSRUWHG7KHWRLOHWVWKDWDUHQRWIL[HGVHFXUHO\³VRPHWLPHVOHDNDQGPRYHDQGZDWHUJR>HV@
XQGHU>WKH@WLOH´:DWHUGDPDJHWRWKHIORRURUOHDNVLQWRRWKHUURRPVDUHFDXVHGE\WKHVHOHDNLQJ
toilets.
F. Tub
Tub

OK
26%

Repair
34%

Replace
40%

20

The bathroom tub, like the other fixtures in the bathroom, is old. Age has caused leaks,
rusting, poor drainage, and water leaking into other rooms. Leaking is a primary concern for
PDQ\WHQDQWV2QHVSHFLILFDOO\PHQWLRQHGWKDWWKH³ZDWHUFRPH>V@RXWXQGHr the tub, [then]
JR>HV@WKURXJK>WR@WKHEHGURRP´/LNHWKHVLQNVLQWKHEDWKURRPVEHFDXVHRIDJHPDQ\RIWKH
tubs also drain slowly.
G. Shower
Shower

OK
41%

Repair
33%

Replace
26%

The showers in the bathroom of many units are old, leaking and rusty. A common
comment is that the showers need to be replaced. Leaks cause water damage to the floor and
walls. These leaks create ways for insects to enter the bathroom.
H. Lighting
Lighting

OK
56%

Repair
23%

Replace
21%

For the most part, tenants seemed happy with the lighting in the bathrooms. The tenants
WKDWQHHGUHSDLUVFRPPHQWHGWKDWWKHOLJKWVQHHGQHZFRYHUVDQGZHUHGHVFULEHGDV³ROG´
Another comment received was the desire for the bathroom lights to be brighter to help tenants
(particularly elderly or disabled) see more clearly.
I. Other
Other

OK
28%

Repair
21%

Replace
51%

The overall consensus was the bathrooms contained things that are old and in need of
repair. Broken hinges, cracks in walls (that allow leaks into other rooms), rusty windows and
dripping faucets were among the most prominent problems in bathrooms. One suggestion for
LPSURYHPHQWVWRWKHEDWKURRPLVWR³KDYHKDQGLFDSDFFHVVLEOHWXEVVKRZHUDQGKLJKHUWRLOHWV
[and] all bathrooms shouOGKDYHJUDEEHUVIRUVDIHW\´

21

V I. L inen C loset

22

A. Door
OK
65%

Door

Repair
17.5%

Replace
17.5%

The linen closet doors were mainly given positive reviews by tenants. Several tenants did
report that they do not have a closet door or the doorknobs need to be replaced. It must be noted
that these closets do not have any doors, this was discovered after the report had been compiled.
The tenants who reported on this must have confused it with another door.
B. Shelves
Shelves

OK
71%

Repair
23%

Replace
6%

The shelves of the linen closet were also reported as being in good shape. However, one
tenant commented that an improved linen closet should be considered because the closets as,
³WRRVKRUWQDUURZ>DQG@VKRXOGEHZLGHU´
C. Other
Other

OK
75%

Repair
17%

Replace
8%

Overall the tenants have a relatively positive view of the linen closets. One tenant
suggested that an improved linen closet would also have room for a washer and dryer.

23

V I I. O ther

24

A. Outside/Common Areas
Tenants have several suggestions for improving the outside/common areas of Mayor
Wright Housing. Cleanliness is a top issue for many tenants. These tenants see it as the
responsibility of every tenant to show respect for their homes and neighbors by doing things such
as: clean up after pets, not throw garbage on the ground, not spit betel nut juice or chewing
tobacco on the ground where everyone walks, respect the privacy of the tenants living on the
ground floor, and for parents or guardians to watch their children when they play outside and run
in the parking lots (some of the trash on the ground is the result of children throwing wrappers or
empty bottles wherever they want when they are finished with

Walkways are full of cracks

them).
The walkways and grounds are cracking, and holes are
common. Pipes stick out of the ground, or holes leading to pipes
create a dangerous situation for everyone (particularly the very
young, the elderly, and the handicapped). Recently some of these
pipes and holes have been marked with bright red spray paint, but tenants are still very
concerned that late at night when they are in their yards one small misstep will lead to sprained
or even broken ankles. Some tenants have covered these protruding pipes and holes with pots,
rocks or slabs of concrete. The piping system needs to be redesigned to fix these flaws.
B. Social Environment
Many of the tenants are worried about the lack of a social environment that promotes
tenant interaction and community building. It is a very big concern when several tenants write
WKDWWKHUHLV³QRVRFLDOHQYLURQPHQWDWDOO´In fact as residents were preparing this needs
assessment there was another stabbing at the complex. Residents suggested both increased
security at night, and adding youth programs as ways to build community at the complex.
Crime and fear of violence hurt the social atmosphere in the complex. Drugs, gangs, and
drinking are a decisive influence the youth of Mayor WrLJKWV3DUWLFXODUO\DWQLJKWJUDIILWL³JX\V
KDQJLQJDURXQGDQGVPRN>LQJ@SRW´DQGSHRSOH³GULQNLQJRQFDPSXV´DUHconstant problems.
While these activities are not exclusive to the youth of Mayor Wrights, an increase in activities
for the youth, or more promotion of youth related activities in the immediate area (whether at
churches, Palama Settlement, or with Weed and Seed) would give the youth something to occupy

25

their time and (hopefully) instill a more positive ethical or moral code. Residents are still
disappointed that the DOE failed to sign off on a federal after school program (Quantum
Opportunities) for Public Housing children that the complex was awarded in 2008. (Without the
DOE signature the program could not proceed)
C. Services at Mayor Wright Housing
There are mixed feelings about the services at Mayor Wright Housing ± while there is a
UHDOVHQVHWKDWVHUYLFHVKDYHLPSURYHGXQGHU+DNLP¶VOHDGHUVKLSVHUYLFHVDUHVWLOOQRWZKHUH
residents hoped they could be. Some residents feel that the services provided are good and
responsive. However, others feel that they are slow, unpleasant and understaffed.
The residents who feel that the services can be improved cited several things that can be
done. When making repairs, maintenance workers have been known to not clean up after
WKHPVHOYHV2QHWHQDQWZURWHWKDW³PDLQWHQDQFHZRUNHUVQHHGWRUHVSHFWWHQDQW¶VXQLWVZKHQ
HQWHULQJWRGRUHSDLUVDQGFOHDQXSDIWHUWKHPVHOYHVQRWZDONZLWKPXGRQWKHLUVKRHV´$QRWKHU
tenant pointed to a window that had recently been replaced. It had handprints from the caulk that
maintenance used to install the window.
A common concern was also the lack of a timely response when requests for repairs are
made. Tenants usually have to go to the office several times EHFDXVH³ZRUNRUGHUVKDYHWREH
UHPLQGHGRYHUDQGRYHU´5HVLGHQWVIHHOWKDWWKHUHDVRQWKDWWKHUHVSRQVHLVVRVORZLVEHFDXVH
WKHUHLVDVKRUWDJHRIPDLQWHQDQFHZRUNHUV2QHWHQDQWVXJJHVWHGWKDWPDQDJHPHQWVKRXOG³XVH
tenants if [they are] short of wRUNHUV´
On the positive side many residents talked about an improvement in responsiveness and
attitude with regard to the maintenance staff. For many residents Hakim Ouansafi is given credit
for this transformation. Residents appreciate the effort the new director made in actually living
at the complex. This still resonates with residents and contributes to their new confidence in the
Housing Authority.
D. General Grounds
The common ground is not well set up for residents use. Not only does the complex
layout isolate some areas, the area is sterile and unwelcoming. The handful of trees still on sight
help the place feel better, but there is not enough trees for shade, and not enough beautification
efforts as a whole. In addition the common areas are often covered with scattered trash.

26

Several residents talked about the changes to the Kukui Gardens grounds and wished for
VRPHWKLQJOLNHWKDWWRKDSSHQDW0D\RU:ULJKWV³0RUHWUHHVZRXOGPDNHLWIHHOOLNHDQLFHU
place, I walk through Kukui on my way home and it looks a lot better now ± I wish we could
KDYHWKDW´
7HQDQW¶VSHUFHSWLRQRIWKHJHQHUDOJURXQGVLVWKDWLWLV³YHU\GLUW\>DQG@XQFOHDQ´$WWKH
same time, tenants also realized that it is not entirely the responsibility of management or
maintenance to keep the grounds clean. It is also their responsibility to help. A perceptive tenant
UHDOL]HGWKDWWKHUH³QHHG>V@>WREH@WHQDQWFRRSHUDWLRQWRNHHS>WKH@SODFHFOHDQWRRPDQ\SHRSOH
trash the grounds[.] [There is] too much rubbish around DWDQ\JLYHQWLPH´ The other concern
people have about the grounds is that when the grass is cut maintenance blows the grass into
SHRSOH¶V\DUGVLQVWHDGRIFOHDQLQJLWXS)XUWKHUPRUHRQHWHQDQWFRPPHQWHGWKDWLW³VHHPVOLNH
grass in common areas is cuWZKHQ+8'LVH[SHFWHG´
E. Playground
There are many safety and aesthetic concerns about the playground. The playground is
IXOORIURFNVXQHYHQVXUIDFHVDQGKDVWKHDSSHDUDQFHRID³MXQN\DUG´2QHWHQDQWZKROLYHV
close to the playground wrote that WKH\KDYH³VHHQDORWRIGUXQNSHRSOHPDNHVL]]\RQWKH
WLUHV´7KHRSHQQHVVRIWKHSOD\JURXQGPDNHVLWLGHDOIRULOOHJDORUGDQJHURXVDFWLYLW\WRWDNH
place.
After talking with residents who have lived in Mayor Wrights for many years, it was
discovered that there used to be a more traditional playground. Repairs to the old playground
were constantly taking place because of vandalism. That is why the current playground is in
SODFH$QLPSURYHGSOD\JURXQGZLWK³VRPHVZLQJVRU>D@MXQJOHJ\P´ZRXOGLGHDlly be able to
be locked.
F. Parking Lots
7KHPRVWIUHTXHQWFRPPHQWDERXWWKHSDUNLQJORWVLVWKHODFNRIDYLVLWRU¶VSDUNLQJORW
When tenants have family or guests visiting there is no place for them to park because street
parking is very limited. Serious consideration needs to be given to the design of an improved
parking lot.

27

Many tenants are very worried about numerous children of all ages running through the
SDUNLQJORW³&KLOGUHQDV\RXQJDV\HDUROG>DUH@UXQQLQJLQSDUNLQJORWV1RPDWWHUKRw slow
\RXJRWKH\FRPHUXQQLQJRXWRIQRZKHUHDOOWKHWLPH´$ODFNRIDVXLWDEOHSOD\ ground,
creates the possibility of a very bad scenario that has thankfully not occurred yet.
The parking lots are filled with potholes, uneven surfaces and poorly marked stalls. The
SRWKROHVDQGXQHYHQVXUIDFHVFUHDWH³WRRPDQ\PXGG\DUHDVGXULQJKHDY\UDLQV«ZDWHU
puddles/pools iQVRPHVWDOOV´7KLVFDQEHDSUREOHPfor elderly or disabled tenants.
G. Security (Day and Night)
Security got mixed reviews. Some tenDQWVWKLQNWKDWVHFXULW\LV³ILQHDQGGRLQJWKHLU
MRE´DQG³YHU\KHOSIXO´3DUWLFXODUO\GXULQJWKHGD\VHFXULW\LVSHUFHLYHGDVGRLQJDYHU\JRRG
MRE$VXSSRUWLYHWHQDQWZURWHWKDWWKH³ the day guards are real good, we should keep them,
WKH\GRWKHMREVWKH\VKRXOGGR´People were less positive about nighttime security overall.
There was a strong sense that security had gotten better for a while ± ³DIWHUWKH*RYHUQRUYLVLWHG´
± and had started to slide again recently.
The tenants that had serious reservations were very concerned about security being
inconsistent. Many of the Micronesian tenants feel that security is too strict when dealing with
Micronesians. They feel that security is singling them out, profiling people who are entering the
KRXVLQJ2QHWHQDQWZURWHWKDWVHFXULW\GRHVWKLVE\³RQO\ZKRHYHUWKH\NQRZWKH\OHWWKHPLQ
2QO\0LFURQHVLDQ>V@WKH\FKHFN>,¶YH@VHH>Q@>LW@ZLWKP\RZQH\HV´
Several tenants also had suggestions for improving security at Mayor Wrights. A more
open dialogue between security and tenants would help improve relations. One tenant asked,
³:KHQVHFXULW\LVSDWUROOLQJZKDWDUHWKH\ORRNLQJIRU"´,IRQHWHQDQWLVDVNLQJWKLVWKHQWKHUH
are certainly other tenants with similar questions. Perhaps a monthly or quarterly meeting
between tenants and residents would help answer these questions. One resident suggested that
SHUKDSVWKHWHQDQWVVKRXOGGUDZXSD³JRRGQHLJKERUSROLF\± kind of make some general rules
DERXWKRZWROLYHWRJHWKHU´DQGDVNVHFXULW\WRHQIRUFHWKHVHUXOHV
Another suggestion is using in house security. One tenant feels particularly strongly that if
tenants were to step up community involvement in the neighborhood walks that have been
popular in the past, tenants would have more input in security issues. Finally increased police
presence was requested by several residents - especially at night.

28

H. Pest Control
This is a chronic problem at Mayor Wrights, and
while the situation has improved over the last year, it is

Rat holes, seen here at the bottom
of a tree, are common.

still a very serious issue. Cockroaches, ants, rats and
bedbugs are common issues in many of the units. The
cost of taking care of pest problems can be very high for
UHVLGHQWV2QHWHQDQWZURWH³:HPRYHGLQQRZD\
to stop roaches, ants and mice. [I] [s]pend money every
month on roach traps, combat bait for ants, small roaches
and large. They even had the house treated about 7 months ago. Lasted 1 week, still hundreds of
DQWVURDFKHVODUJHDQGVPDOOPRVWO\LQNLWFKHQDQGEDWKURRP´5DWVDQGLQVHFWVFRPHIURP
drainage systems and dumpsters.
Bedbugs are a constant problem. Bedbugs infest beds, sofas, and other furniture. This
means that tenants have to spend their very limited financial resources to replace infested
furnitXUH2QHWHQDQW³UHSODFHGEHGVDVRID, love seats, curtains, chairs, carpet, etc. until I treated
KRXVHWRNLOODOOEHGEXJV,W¶s been about 5 years no bedbugs; but hundreds of ants, roaches large
DQGVPDOODQGDERXWPLFHFDXJKWLQWUDSVHDFK\HDU´
Most tenants do keep their units clean, and infestations occur because of reasons that are
outside of their control. But even the cleanest unit can still become infested when adjacent units
or common spaces are infested. Despite hard work of individual residents and the housing
authority staff this is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately.
Pests are not limited to insects. Chickens have become a problem in Mayor Wrights as
well as the surrounding area. Youth catch them in order to hold chicken fights. This happens at
DOOKRXUVDVRQHWHQDQWUHSRUWHGWKDWWKHUHDUH³FKLFNHQ>V@UXQQLQJDURXQGDQGPDNLQJQRLVHDOO
hours. Kids [are] playing cock fighting with the chicken[s].´7LJKWHUVHFXULW\FRQFHUQLQJ
chickens needs to be implemented.
I. Laundry
Some tenants dry their laundry at Mayor Wrights on clotheslines because they either do
not have a dryer or the dryer is broken. For families that run out of space on the clotheslines,

29

WKH\XVHWKHLUODQDL)RUIDPLOLHVWKDWXVHWKHODQDLWKHUHLVDFRQFHUQWKDWLWLV³WRRVPDOO´RUWKH
FORWKHVGRQ¶WGU\SURSHUO\6RPHIDPLOLHVDUHODUJHDQGFORWKHVDUHVSUHDGRQWKHJUDVVRURYHr
railings by their units. Occasionally residents complain about their neighbors ± ³LWFUHDWHV a
³JKHWWRDSSHDUDQFH´VDLGRQHWHQDQWA discussion on a better system of washing and drying
clothes needs to take place. This problem is a good opportunity to create a cleaner atmosphere
for Mayor Wrights. One resident wondered if clotheslines could be built into a redesign of the
complex.
J. Community Room
7KHUHZHUHVHYHUDOWHQDQWVZKRZURWHFRPPHQWVVXFKDV³ZKDWFRPPXQLW\URRP"´RU
³QHYHUEHHQWKHUH´$FRPPXQLW\URRPFDQSOD\DNH\UROHLQFRPPXQLW\ vitalization. However
the community room is located on the second floor, making it very difficult for the elderly or the
handicap to access it. The room is used to hold tenant meetings, but lacks the space to hold all of
the tenants. While these meetings generally do not have full tenant participation, it should be
able to accommodate all tenants if the need ever did arise.
The library, located in 25-A, offers programs for children. Minimal funding, and a small
staff mean that activities are limited. More support would provide youth with opportunities and
help keep them out of trouble. Frankly the rooms could become real sources of community
building, but they do not get enough attention or support.
K. Other Issues
The tenants of Mayor Wrights have a great deal of pride in their homes, and many have
lived there for years. 2QHWHQDQWZURWH³,DPVWLOOSURXGWREHDWHQDQWLQWKLVFRPPXQLW\DQG
YHU\PXFKZDQWWRGRP\EHVWLQPDNLQJP\FRPPXQLW\WKH%(67SODFHWROLYHLQ´0DQ\
tenants realize that to improve Mayor Wrights a lot needs to happen. Tenant responsibility and
LQYROYHPHQWLVNH\,IWHQDQWV³ZRXOGOLNHWRKDYH>WKHLU@KRXVHORRNQLFHLQVLGHDQGRXW´LWLV
essential that everyone do their part. The best example of this pride is the numerous gardens that
are planted in front of units. Many are remarkable and show the creative energy that the
residents have. Plans to redesign or repair the complex should thoughtfully incorporate the
residents own beautification efforts.

30

Conclusion
This report was not produced by architects or engineers but by residents. To the resident
eye the physical construction of Mayor Wrights appears to be substantially dilapidated, though
still functional. Yet the complex really shows its age, and the repair needs of the place are
serious and expensive if Mayor Wrights is to extend its useful life far into the future. Moreover
the design is outdated and some residents felt had a depressing feel to it. While there are many
specific variations to possible plans for redevelopment at Mayor Wrights, broadly there are two
paths ± one where the complex is renovated in its current form, and the other where the existing
site is essentially redrawn and demolition and reconstruction are done. Both paths have
advantages and disadvantages to the residents and the state as a whole.
Renovating the complex in its current form will minimize displacement of the current
neighborhood. Many residents have lived in Mayor Wrights for more than twenty years, and
there is an established community that is continuous and looks out for itself. In essence Mayor
Wright is a neighborhood, and neighborhoods take a longer time to grow than buildings do to
build.
Renovation of the current project is expensive and will at best simply update housing that
already does not make the best use of the space and is not well designed. If the Housing
Authority takes this route it will have to ensure that the rehab is total and based on the tenants
needs assessment this is likely to include gut rehab in some areas. We would hope that gut rehab
also includes some new development as the large site is under utilized, and onsite building might
assist in managing the temporary displacement that a gut rehab will require.
On the other hand demolition and reconstruction offer the chance to add affordable units
WRWKHVWDWH¶VLQYHQWRU\DVZHOODVWRFRQYHUWWKHSURSHUW\WRRQHWKDWKRXVHVDZLGHUPL[RI
incomes. The property is large enough to do one for one replacement of public housing units and
still include new tax credit or even market rents. Kukui Gardens next door demonstrates the
feasibility of market rate housing in this area and adding market rate housing to any
redevelopment plan could serve as the incentive to attract a public-private partnership like Kukui
Gardens.
Demolition and reconstruction has been very controversial in other parts of the US as it
can lead to permanent displacement. If the Housing Authority chooses this route it will need to
take tremendous care in managing the movement of residents to other locations. It would do
31

well to avoid the model of Chicago and look hard at Seattle and San Francisco where current
residents were tracked while displaced and guaranteed the right of return when redevelopment
was complete.
Regardless of the route taken by the Housing Authority it is important that the current
residents and the current income mix be retained to whatever extent is possible. It would be the
height of irony if the site were redone for a new population, while current residents were
dispersed to other troubled properties. The Mayor Wrights residents will be watching this
unfolding process closely and hope to participate in it.

32

Tenant Needs Assessments

33