ADU built on State Capitol lawn to highlight statewide need for affordable housing

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU), or tiny home, has been built on the Hawaii State Capitol lawn to raise awareness about statewide housing needs.

It’s all part of Hawaii Habitat for Humanity and Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice’s annual Build-A-Thon.

The event aims to highlight how ADUs can help address some of those needs.

“This could make a difference, start to make a dent in our challenges in affordable housing. We want to continue this program,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “Today is about rolling out a type of unit that I think a lot of people will find very attractive.”

With about 400 square feet of floor space, the ADU features a solar photovoltaic system, a ramp for ADA accessibility, and furnishings, all donated by event sponsors. The design was inspired by an ADU designed by Architects Hawaii.

Jean Lilley, executive director of Hawaii Habitat for Humanity says, “We partnered with Hawaii Appleseed for this special event to offer a unique experience for the public. The event will not only generate awareness for our organizations, but also demonstrate how ADUs are one of the many solutions that tackles Hawaii’s housing shortage.”

As of March 2017, over 1,200 homeowners have submitted preliminary ADU forms and the city has granted almost 150 ADU permits. The growing interest in ADUs verifies the need for them in the current housing setting, officials say.

“This is an opportunity to create affordable housing without the use of scarce government subsidies,” says Gavin Thornton, co-executive director of Hawaii Appleseed. “Private citizens can help alleviate the housing shortage by renting out ADUs long-term. A hundred fifty ADU permits means a hundred fifty households have a place to live. We are hoping that next year we will see even more.”

Honsador Lumber donated the ADU for this event, while Gundaker Works donated the contracting work.

During the display period, free tours and information sessions will be held. The tour schedule will be posted outside the ADU when it becomes available.

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