Approve Ohana Units and ADUs on Hawaiian Home Lands
Due to the lack of affordable housing both on and off Hawaiian Home Lands, many homesteader families live in overcrowded, unsafe conditions. The average lessee household consists of 4.2 people, compared to the statewide average of 3 people per household. One in four lessees feel they need additional square footage to adequately house their families (Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Lessee Survey Report 2014).
In the most unfortunate circumstances, our native Hawaiian families must separate, forcing many into homelessness.
In September 2015, the Mahoe family was the first family to request a slot on the Hawaiian Homes Commission agenda to ask for approval to build an ohana unit. The family has made this request six times, but the Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairperson has refused to place the family’s request on the agenda for action. By refusing to consider ohana units, the HHC is prolonging the housing crisis that leaves so many Hawaiians without adequate, affordable housing.
An ohana unit is a secondary unit that can be added to the lot of an existing house, and can provide living space for the lot owner's family members. Ohana units can provide relief to overcrowded households, giving multigenerational native Hawaiian families the space they need to live comfortably. Ohana units have existed in Hawaii for decades, but so far none have been approved on Hawaiian Home Lands.
In addition to Ohana units, homesteaders are allowed by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act to rent an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to another native Hawaiian individual or family, which would generate income for them. They could use these funds to help with their everyday expenses or payment of existing mortgages. There is great demand for this.
Ohana units and ADUs could be an immediate housing solution for hundreds of families on Hawaiian Home Lands, and there should be no more delay in approving their construction.