Tiny homes could help alleviate the long wait list for Hawaiian Homelands

ANAHOLA, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Homestead Housing Authority is a statewide non-profit that wants to increase the inventory of affordable housing in Hawaii with tiny homes.

"We need to try it and I hope that it's a real solution, not just for Native Hawaiians on homesteads but also for Hawaii families across the state," HHA executive director Robin Puanani Danner said.

The organization is shipping in a prefabricated tiny home from the West Coast. It will sit on Hawaiian Homestead land in Anahola, Kauai.

Danner said it will take about one week to assemble then be open for the public to tour as a pilot project.

Unlike tiny homes on wheels that can be moved from place to place, HHA's tiny house is stationary with a bedroom, bath and outside deck.

"We're trying to bring this thing in for Hawaii families and homesteaders and Native Hawaiians for under $75,000," Danner said. "We're hoping to keep our financing price right around $500 a month, own it in 15 years."

With 27,000 Native Hawaiians on its wait list, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands is open to the idea of tiny houses as affordable options to get people on homestead land quicker.

"The concept of lower-cost housing definitely could help with folks on the wait list because it would allow for more people to qualify for loans at lower rates.If you purchase a tiny home and it meets whatever standards in that county that you're going to erect a home in. we will generally approve it unless there is something outstanding," said William Aila, DHHL Deputy to the Chair.

Many Native Hawaiians defer land awards because they can't afford the mortgage. The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement believes tiny homes remove that barrier.

"CNHA has the ability to bring access to capital for these tiny homes, a manufactured product to be financed through our community loan fund," Michelle Kauhane said.

HHA's tiny home arrives on Kauai next Wednesday. The goal is to have it complete with cabinets, fixtures and appliances and ready to show by mid-July.

"Our hope is that we can perfect a product that brings in an affordable home, albeit small, that families on the wait list can access and become eligible for so that they can accept a land award from DHHL," Danner said.

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