If you are a fan of HGTV’s Tiny House episodes, you already are familiar with the tiny house movement that has been sweeping across America. This growing international movement is grabbing attention on CNN, Associated Press, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, NBC, PBS and many more media outlets.

According to thetinylife.com, “Simply put, it is a social movement where people are deciding to downsize the space they live in. The size of a typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet. Tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but they all have one thing in common: Enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.”

Environmental concerns, financial concerns and the desire for more time and freedom are the most popular reasons people want to live in a tiny house. The website also notes that for most Americans, one-third to one-half of their income is dedicated to housing costs. Hence, 76 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

So what is the alternative? Judging by several local blogs and Facebook communities, some homeowners in Hawaii already are living the tiny house alternative. It seems to make sense in a state where the cost of living has skyrocketed over time and median house prices are well over $700,000.


Embracing its “Life matters” brand philosophy, HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union continuously strives to understand the needs of its more than 120,000 members. For many, the need for affordable housing is great.

HawaiiUSA wants to be part of the housing shortage solution. With the approval and signing of Bill 20 last month, the credit union is informing its members about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). The new city ordinance allows homeowners to construct a 400to 800-square-foot ADU (attached or detached) on their property. They can exist island-wide, with the exception of planned communities where covenants prohibit such dwellings. These smaller-sized units will ensure that rents remain affordable.

For seniors, an ADU may offer the ideal living solution. Those looking to down-size can move into an ADU on their own property, leaving the main house for grown children and grandkids. Or, because the ordinance now allows homeowners to rent to a non-relative, the ADU could house a paying tenant, possibly a caregiver. The additional rent money could help those on a fixed income.


“Maybe these ADUs are Hawaii’s answer to the tiny house movement,” said SVP and HawaiiUSA group director of marketing and community outreach Scott Kaulukukui. “Whether it’s a tiny house or a remodel, HawaiiUSA’s Home Equity Line of Credit could help kick start any home building project.”

“Providing the right financial solution to start any building project is always a key objective at our credit union,” said SVP and HawaiiUSA chief lending officer Gwen Yamamoto-Lau. “To best serve our members, we will work to ensure that our loan programs are well aligned with the requirements of the new ADU ordinance.”

For more information, contact HawaiiUSA at 534-4300 or toll-free at (800) 379-1300.

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