In homelessness crisis, Hawaii eyes thatched 'hale' homes

In homelessness crisis, Hawaii eyes thatched 'hale' homes
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

By CATHY BUSSEWITZ
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - As Hawaii deals with its ongoing homelessness crisis, lawmakers and residents want to revive the Hawaiian tradition of living in hale (HAH-lay). Those are the thatched homes made from local trees and plants.

They say hale can provide more affordable housing, which is scarce on the islands.

A bill to ease restrictions on building hale died after critics brought up safety concerns. Now advocates are trying to bring attention to a type of housing that celebrates culture and uses environmentally sustainable techniques to house the homeless.

Homes based on indigenous architecture are found from tipi-style homes in Austin, Texas, to Tahiti, where thatched homes lure honeymooners.

Some Oahu residents want to convert a homeless encampment into a village of traditional hale with modern technology like solar panels.

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