For many residents of Mayor Wright public housing project, hot showers were a rare privilege. At least one resident boiled water on a stove to bathe her grandchildren.
Restoring hot water to Mayor Wright became a test for Gov. Neil Abercrombie. On Friday, he announced the problem — which had dragged on for years — had been solved.
“The completion of this project is a temporary solution to a longstanding and unacceptable problem,” Governor Abercrombie said in a Friday press release. “This is just one of a long series of investments we will make in our public housing — to ensure that families have safe and dignified housing as they move toward self-sufficiency.”
As of June 15, gas-power tankless heater systems were installed in each of the 35 buildings at Mayor Wright. Construction began on March 22 and cost $514,800 to complete.
Joe Perez, a communications specialist with the state Department of Human Services, told Civil Beat the backup heaters are just the beginning of a $5.6 million overhaul of the entire solar hot water system.
“These are interim repairs that are restoring hot water, but an even bigger, more comprehensive repair, money has been allocated for that and they’re in the design phase,” Perez said.
Civil Beat asked Perez about the governor’s efforts with Mayor Wright.
“In terms of our connection to it, I think it’s pretty exciting that the governor was out, heard the resident’s complaints, and really some decisive action was taken to get the hot water restored,” Perez said.
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