Modular Solution for Homeless in Hawaii

Modular Homes For the Homeless

Whitley Evergreen One Bedroom Modular Homes

MARYSVILLE, WASHINGTON / Whitley Evergreen said “aloha” to three (3), fully constructed modular homes. They were fastened down to a boat destined for Waianae, Hawaii to serve the community’s growing need to house the homeless.

The Homeless Problem

The intention is to provide a more stable environment for families rather than a temporary fix. As stated by the Star Advertiser, “The project is not considered an emergency or transitional shelter. The goal is to relocate homeless squatters from parks and other public areas into permanent housing.”

You don’t have to look far to see the problem Hawaii faces.  The state has the highest per-capita homeless population in the country.  In fact, the city of Waianae shoulders its fair share of this growing problem.  Because, 250 people, including families with children, have set up camp on 19 acres of the Waianae Boat Harbor.  And the complaints are mounting and the citizens are putting increased pressure on elected officials to do something about it.

Modular Homes From Washington

Whitley Evergreen, Marysville, WA, was contacted by Hawaii Modular Space with a design/build challenge to meet the needs of the city.  City officials considered both modular and container structures. They evaluated several proposals under a set of four criteria:

  • Pricing: Includes build, deliver and install.
  • Quality of construction: Includes materials, installation technique and warranty.
  • Design options: Includes flexibility of design, optional features (i.e. roof, windows, lanai, lofts, etc.).
  • Timeline: Includes production, delivery and completion of the project.

One of the biggest design challenges, however, was to make sure that the homes would meet the approval of its community members.  To get this accomplished, Dave Ballard, Design Engineer for Whitley-Evergreen, put in the long hours. He worked closely with Guy Murakami, Project Manager of Hawaii Modular Space, to come up with the plans. They placed their focus on both functionality and aesthetics.

modular homes loaded on ship to Hawaii

“The most rewarding aspect of the project is knowing we are helping with a solution to the homeless dilemma in the state of Hawaii” said Mr. Ballard.

Modular Home Features

The new homes have approximately 500 sq. ft each of living space and includes a one or two bedroom, one bathroom, kitchen and a living area.  On the outside there is fiber cement panel siding, cedar trim, louvered window shutters, a lanai with decorative posts and railing, and a concealed fastener standing seam metal roof.  The homes are custom designed and built to blend in and complement the surrounding neighborhood.   Other design features include:

  • Durability  Built to withstand the unforgiving tropical heat, storms and corrosive ocean environment
  • Codes  Engineering to meet all local and state of Hawaii building codes
  • ADA  One-bedroom unit compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act


This is only the beginning of an ongoing effort to bring more suitable living accommodations for the homeless in the community of Waianae.  The vision of the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board is a long term solution to transition the homeless that are currently living in public areas of the city, into new modular homes, set up in residential districts.

See article “New houses for the homeless delivered to site in Waianae”  in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser by Jayna Omaye for more details of this story.


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