When Not Speaking Fluent English Can Get You Evicted

After a family was almost kicked out, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority agrees to adopt translation and interpreter procedures.

News Story (Hawaii)

Anita Hofschneider
Honolulu Civil Beat
August 8, 2016

Tags: Housing: Eviction, Language Access

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i (LASH)


Valantin Sirom and Sasinta Seremea filed a complaint at the state Civil Rights Commission last summer when they were evicted from public housing after two hearings in which the Housing Authority did not provide an interpreter.

The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, which represented the couple, contended the Housing Authority discriminated against them based on their national origin by not providing a free interpreter or translating important documents, including a notice that they had the right to an interpreter.

A Housing Authority board voted to evict Sirom and Seremea last summer, but dismissed their eviction last September after the Legal Aid Society interceded.