The happiest celebrations of National Grandparents’ Day on Sunday, Sept. 13, possibly may occur in Hawaii’s multigenerational homes. Studies show that seniors living in such homes are happier and have less stress than those living independently. With the city’s new Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance in place, there could be a lot more happy seniors on Oahu in the near future.

“At HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union (FCU), we recognize that health and happiness for our senior members in their golden years are of great importance,” explained Scott Kaulukukui, senior vice president of marketing and community relations. “That’s why we’re working to inform them about the city’s new Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance.”

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and City Councilman Ron Menor introduced Bill 20 as part of the city’s overall housing strategy to help provide affordable housing to Oahu residents. The bill was approved by City Council and is now being signed into law. It will amend current land-use ordinances by permitting 400-square-foot to 800-square-foot units to exist in residential zones on homeowners’ properties. These units could house renters, grandparents or a small family.

“This ordinance is good for Hawaii,” said Jun Yang, executive director of City & County’s Office of Housing. “Having two units on one property encourages multigenerational living where grandparents live with their children and grandchildren.”

An ADU may provide additional rental income to the homeowner, since the ordinance allows tenants unrelated to the property owner to rent an ADU. This means non-family caregivers of seniors can live nearby to provide 24-hour care.

“At HawaiiUSA, we say, ‘Life matters; what matters to you matters to us.’ Living comfortably and happily matters most to our members as they grow old. By informing our senior members about Bill 20, we hope to not only offer solutions to their needs, but enable seniors to live happier and healthier lives as they age in place,” said Kaulukukui.

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